The mRNA center will be based within the Weizmann Science Park in Ness Ziona, near Tel Aviv, where BioNTech will lease office and laboratory space.
The center will provide space for around 60 researchers in various fields: including life science, computer science, mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Scientists are expected to start work at the site by the end of the year.
BioNTech says the MoU supports its long-term strategy to discover, research and develop vaccines and therapies for diseases with high unmet medical need.
“We are pleased to establish mRNA research laboratories on the campus of the Weizmann Institute of Science,” said Prof. Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.
“Our initiative aims to foster collaborations with top researchers to advance multidisciplinary research and accelerate the development of innovative solutions to tackle some of the world's most pressing health challenges.”
Prof. Ziv Reich, Vice President of the Weizmann Institute of Science, said: “The new center will work in close academic collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science and contribute to a better understanding of the drivers and mechanisms of disease in living cells.
"We welcome the opportunity for a new collaboration that will enrich the research at the Institute, for the benefit of humanity.”
BioNTech also intends to build an mRNA manufacturing facility based on its ‘BioNTainer’ model in Israel (the BioNTainer is a shippable, modular and turnkey mRNA manufacturing facility that has been designed to support decentralized and scalable vaccine production: which the company is already installing in Africa).
This facility will help produce drug substance for the clinical development of investigational cancer therapies; as well as offering a potential facility to quickly respond to future pandemic threats.