BioNTech to explore oral mRNA vaccines in new research collaboration

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/marianvejcik
Pic:getty/marianvejcik

Related tags: Drug delivery, mRNA, Vaccines, BioNTech

BioNTech is teaming up with Matinas BioPharma in a research collaboration to explore novel formulations for mRNA vaccines, including oral vaccines.

Matinas, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company working on the intracellular delivery of nucleic acids and small and large molecules with the lipid nanocrystal (LNC) platform tech, will receive an upfront exclusive access fee from BioNTech, along with additional research funding. The two parties will collaborate on formulation, optimization and in vitro testing.

They have also started license agreement discussions for the platform.

Platform could be 'one of the leading next-generation intracellular drug delivery vehicles'

Headquartered in Bedminster, New Jersey, Matinas is advancing its lipid nanocrystal platform through its own internal portfolio of products as well as partnerships with pharmaceutical companies.

Preclinical and clinical data have demonstrated that this novel technology can provide solutions to many of the challenges in achieving safe and effective intracellular delivery, for both small molecules and larger, more complex molecules, such as mRNA, DNA plasmids, antisense oligonucleotides and vaccines.

The combination of a unique mechanism of action and flexibility with formulation and route of administration (including oral), positions Matinas’ LNC technology to ‘potentially become one of the leading next-generation intracellular drug delivery vehicles’, according to the company.

The LNC platform is formulated as a natural, non-toxic spiral crystal, or cochleate, with the ability to be administered orally and through various other routes. Drug molecules are encapsulated in the layered design, which protects them from harsh environmental conditions or enzymes until they enter the target cell.

Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and co-founder of BioNTech, said: “We pioneered the treatment of the first patient in history with nano-sized lipid-encapsulated mRNA back in 2015, after years of extensive research. Accomplishing strong immune responses with low doses are crucial in the development of well-tolerated and highly effective vaccines. This can be achieved with the right technology that enables targeted vaccine delivery.

“Matinas’ LNC platform demonstrates encouraging capabilities for intracellular delivery, including the opportunity for oral delivery. We are excited to collaborate with this extraordinary team of experts.”  

Jerome D. Jabbour, CEO and co-founder of Matinas, said: “This collaboration with BioNTech is an important validation from a leading global biotech company with demonstrated expertise in the design, formulation, and delivery of mRNA.

“Intracellular delivery remains a significant challenge for many emerging therapies and the combination of oral bioavailability with non-immunogenic transfection could potentially benefit tens of millions of patients around the world.”

Related topics: Bio Developments, Pipelines, COVID-19

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