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BioNTech: Vaccine Alliance with Pfizer

BioNTech AG has forged another top-class alliance with a large pharmaceutical company: together with Pfizer, the Mainz-based company plans to develop novel flu vaccines.


It is the next major pharmaceutical deal for Mainz-based BioNTech AG: the biotechnology company from Rhineland-Palatinate has won the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer as a partner. As announced in August, the two companies intend to develop novel influenza vaccines as part of a long-term research and development collaboration.

Under this research and development collaboration, BioNTech will receive $120 million in upfront payments, capital investments and timely research investments from Pfizer as well as potential milestone payments of up to $305 million - and double-digit percentage revenue shares.

BioNTech, a former winner of the GO-Bio competition, has developed into one of the largest biotechnology companies in Germany. The Mainz-based company is a specialist in the development of personalized immune therapies for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Pfizer aims to advance the research and development of flu vaccines based on the messenger molecule mRNA. This approach will allow faster and cheaper production of influenza vaccines with higher efficacy compared to current vaccines.

Currently, influenza vaccines are still mostly derived from incubated chicken eggs. However, many influenza vaccine manufacturers plan to rely on other production methods in the future. While some technologies are based on different cell lines, BioNTech intends to directly administer the RNA blueprint for the vaccines. The rest happens in the organism. 

BioNTech is responsible for carrying out a first human clinical study as part of the alliance. Once this has been completed, Pfizer will assume the sole responsibility for the further clinical development and commercialisation of the flu vaccines.

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