Genevant inks development deal with BioNTech
- Ahead of Roivant Sciences' pipeline day on Tuesday afternoon, the company announced some of the latest news for one of its "Vants" — the term it uses for its many subsidiaries.
- Genevant, which is meant to be a RNA therapeutic-focused company, has inked a co-development deal with BioNTech to use the German company's mRNA platform to develop five rare disease products.
- The two companies will co-develop and co-commercialize the products through a 50/50 split, sharing all future costs and profits, with an aim of entering the clinic in 2020.
Genevant, launched in April as a joint venture between Roivant and Arbutus Biopharma, has the goal of bringing five to 10 compounds using mRNA, RNA interference or gene editing to the clinic by 2020. The deal with BioNTech will potentially help it reach that goal.
As part of their pact, the companies have entered into a licensing agreement that uses Genevant's lipid nanoparticle delivery technology with five of BioNTech's oncology programs. Genevant is eligible to receive commercial milestones on those products. The platform was developed by Arbutus, another Roivant company, and used in the development of Alnylam Pharmaceutical's patisiran.
The companies did not elaborate on what diseases they plan to target under the collaboration.
Genevant is just one of twelve subsidiaries under the Roivant umbrella. The business model was designed so that each subsidiary would have a different focus — like RNA therapeutics, dermatology, neurology, hepatitis B, urology or cardiometabolic diseases — and could succeed or fail without affecting the larger company. It also allows Roivant to provide funding and take certain subsidiaries public, while keeping some private. Additionally, the model could allow the parent company to more easily sell off certain assets.
Best-known among the Vants is surely Axovant, the neurology-focused drugmaker that failed at bringing its Alzheimer's compound forward after an historically large initial public offering. After that failure, Roivant's unique business model has come under fire. The parent company is hosting a pipeline day on Tuesday afternoon to showcase its assets. Stay tuned.
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