Pfizer and BioNTech have announced a new research, development and commercialisation collaboration to develop a potential first mRNA-based vaccine for the prevention of shingles (herpes zoster virus, or HZV), which impacts about one in three people in the US during their lifetime.
The collaboration builds on the companies’ success and is is the third collaboration between Pfizer and BioNTech in the infectious diseases field, following the influenza vaccine collaboration initiated in 2018 and the Covid-19 vaccine collaboration initiated in 2020.
The companies will leverage a proprietary antigen technology identified by Pfizer’s scientists and BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA platform technology used in the companies’ Covid-19 vaccine. Clinical trials are planned to start in the second half of 2022.
“Pfizer and BioNTech co-developed the world’s first mRNA vaccine, providing a well-tolerated and effective tool to help address Covid-19 – the most devastating pandemic in a century – and demonstrating consistent, agile and high-quality manufacturing on an unprecedented scale,” said Mikael Dolsten, Chief Scientific Officer and President of Worldwide Research, Development & Medical at Pfizer. “With this agreement, we continue on our journey of discovery together, by advancing mRNA technology to tackle another health challenge ripe for scientific innovation, supported by our world-class manufacturing network.”
“The collaboration aims to develop a new mRNA-based vaccine against shingles, leveraging the expertise and resources of both companies,” said Ugur Sahin, 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.”