Moderna Collaborates with Immatics to Advance Cancer Therapies

Moderna Stock

Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) has embarked on a strategic research and development partnership with Immatics (NASDAQ:IMTX) aimed at creating innovative cancer therapies. This collaboration seeks to harness the potential of Immatics’ T-cell receptor platform and Moderna’s mRNA technology across various therapeutic modalities, including bispecifics, cell therapy, and cancer vaccines.

One notable aspect of this collaboration is the joint development of Immatics’ IMA203 TCR-T therapy, which targets the preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma (PRAME), in combination with Moderna’s PRAME mRNA-based cancer vaccine. In accordance with the partnership’s terms, Moderna will lead the clinical development and commercialization efforts, while Immatics will be responsible for conducting preclinical and phase I clinical studies for the IMA203/PRAME mRNA vaccine combination.

In recognition of Immatics granting rights to use its proprietary platform, Moderna will provide an upfront payment of $120 million to Immatics. Additionally, Immatics stands to receive up to $1.7 billion in milestone payments. The agreement also includes provisions for Immatics to receive tiered royalties on future sales of therapies developed under this collaboration. Furthermore, Immatics has the option to enter into a global profit and loss sharing arrangement for the most advanced TCR bi-specifics candidate.

Moderna’s shares have experienced a 41.1% decline year to date, in contrast to the industry’s 13.4% decrease. This partnership with Immatics represents a positive development for Moderna, particularly considering the encouraging data it has reported on mRNA-4157, its personalized cancer vaccine developed in collaboration with Merck (MRK).

In June, Moderna and Merck disclosed new data from a phase IIb study evaluating mRNA-4157 in melanoma. The study revealed that combining mRNA-4157 with Merck’s Keytruda reduced the risk of distant metastasis or death by 65% compared to those treated with Keytruda alone. This study had previously achieved its primary endpoint of recurrence-free survival. Following these promising results, Moderna and Merck initiated a phase III study on mRNA-4157 in melanoma patients in July.

It’s worth noting that Moderna’s portfolio currently features its COVID-19 vaccine, and as global immunization efforts progress, sales of this vaccine have started to decline. To diversify its product offerings, Moderna initiated regulatory submissions for its RSV vaccine mRNA-1345 in older adults, with potential launches expected in 2024. The company is also exploring the expansion of mRNA-1345’s use in pediatric populations. Moderna’s management aims to introduce at least one new marketed product every year over the next three years, with mRNA-4157 and an influenza vaccine among the scheduled launches.

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