Enough of the early challenges in mRNA have been solved to convince several pharmas and biotechs to enter into partnerships to create products capitalizing on the technology’s advantages over existing modalities.
The deals span applications such as infectious disease vaccines, immunomodulators for cancer and protein replacement in rare disease; however, forays into broader protein replacement applications are still scarce.
Moderna Therapeutics Inc. is the runaway winner in dealmaking, at least in terms of upfront payments. The company has partnered with at least four pharma and biotech partners and pulled in at least $705 million in upfront cash and equity investments from partners.
Two other companies each have at least three mRNA deals: BioNTech AG, which has disclosed at least $60 million in upfront payments, and CureVac AG, which has disclosed at least $45 million (see “mRNA Deals”).
The advantages they are seeking over current platforms are clear.
Few of the companies collaborating on infectious disease have named the pathogens they are targeting, but the advantages they are seeking over current platforms are clear. mRNA vaccines can be created and produced faster than recombinant protein vaccines, can address more complex antigens and are more stable, a boon to global distribution.
In 2011 Sanofi’s Sanofi Pasteur division partnered