Moderna and Immatics have announced a strategic research and development collaboration to pioneer novel and transformative therapies for cancer patients with high, unmet medical need.
This broad multi-platform collaboration will leverage the scientific expertise and core operational capabilities of both companies, combining Immatics’ TCR platform with Moderna’s mRNA technology, and span various therapeutic modalities including bispecifics, cell therapy and cancer vaccines.
The strategic R&D collaboration focuses on three pillars:
- Applying Moderna’s mRNA technology for in vivo expression of Immatics’ next-generation, half-life extended TCR bispecifics (TCER), targeting cancer-specific HLA-presented peptides.
- Enabling the discovery and development of novel mRNA-based cancer vaccines by leveraging Moderna’s knowledge of mRNA science and customised information from Immatics’ wealth of tumour and normal tissue data, which is included in XPRESIDENT, the company’s target discovery platform, and XCUBE, the company’s bioinformatics and AI platform.
- Evaluating Immatics’ IMA203 TCR-T therapy, targeting PRAME, in combination with Moderna’s PRAME mRNA-based cancer vaccine. The collaboration contemplates conducting preclinical studies and a Phase I clinical trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of the combination with the objective of further enhancing IMA203 T cell responses.
Terms of the agreement
Under the terms of the agreement, Immatics will receive an upfront payment of $120 million. Immatics will also receive research funding and is eligible to receive development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments that could exceed $1.7 billion. Immatics is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on global net sales of TCER products and certain vaccine products that are commercialised under the agreement. Immatics has an option to enter into a global profit and loss share arrangement for the most advanced TCER.
Moderna will lead the clinical development and commercialisation of cancer vaccines and TCER therapeutics resulting from the collaboration. Immatics will be responsible for conducting the preclinical studies and a potential Phase I clinical trial investigating IMA203 TCR-T in combination with the PRAME mRNA vaccine to further enhance IMA203 T cell responses. Each party will retain full ownership of its investigational PRAME compound and will fund the clinical study on a cost sharing basis.
Within the collaboration, preclinical activities conducted by Immatics will be managed by the Immatics Discovery Unit, a recently created internal division integrating its technology platforms into one interdisciplinary team focused on all early-stage preclinical pipeline and collaboration programmes.
Dr Rose Loughlin, Moderna’s Senior Vice President for Research and Early Development, said: “We believe this collaboration will accelerate the development of novel oncology therapies and bring us one step closer to providing significant benefits for patients with high unmet medical needs.”
Dr Carsten Reinhardt, MD, Chief Development Officer of Immatics, said: “The rapid advancement of our first two TCER programmes into the clinic, with additional TCER compounds fueling our pre-clinical pipeline, underscores our commitment to develop innovative therapeutics. We are confident that we can explore the optimal delivery of TCER molecules through this collaboration to maximise clinical benefit in a broad patient population.”