Pfizer, BioNTech collaborate on development of shingles vaccine


The shot—which could be the first one to be mRNA based—is scheduled to begin clinical trials later this year

Pfizer and BioNTech have announced a new research, development and commercialization partnership to develop a potential first mRNA-based vaccine for the prevention of shingles, a debilitating disease that impacts about one in three people in the US during their lifetime. The latest news marks the third collaboration between the heavyweights in the infectious diseases field, following the influenza vaccine collaboration initiated in 2018 and the Covid-19 vaccine collaboration that was introduced in 2020.

Per the terms of the deal, Pfizer will pay BioNTech $225 million in upfront payments, which includes a cash payment of $75 million and an equity investment of $150 million. BioNTech is eligible to receive future regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to $200 million, and will also pay Pfizer $25 million for the company’s proprietary antigen technology. The involved parties will be sharing development costs, and clinical trials are expected to commence in the second half of this year.

“The collaboration aims to develop a new mRNA-based vaccine against shingles, leveraging the expertise and resources of both companies,” says Uğur Şahin, MD, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech. “Adults aged 50 years and older, as well as vulnerable populations like cancer patients, are at an increased risk of shingles. Our goal is to develop an mRNA vaccine with a favorable safety profile and high efficacy, which is at the same time more easily scalable to support global access.”

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