Bill Gates invests in Mainz

The Mainz-based biotech company BioNTech SE does not lack in prominent investors. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is now investing $55 million.  And the amount can still grow to $100 million.

Portrait Bill und Melinda Gates

Kjetil Ree | Wikimedia Commons

According to BioNTech, the partnership with the Gates Foundation makes it possible to further expand the portfolio in the field of infectious diseases and initiate new programs. The funds will be used to develop preclinical vaccine and immunotherapy candidates for HIV and tuberculosis infections that can be used preventively. In the case of HIV, permanent remission without antiretroviral therapy should be made possible.

"Despite remarkable advances in global health since 1990, current approaches to preventing and treating tuberculosis – the world’s leading cause of death from infectious disease – and HIV infection remain inadequate," said Lynda Stuart, Deputy Director, Vaccines and Human Immunobiology, Discovery and Translational Sciences, Gates Foundation. "BioNTech’s innovative mRNA-based approach and in-depth understanding of the immune system offer exciting pathways to develop effective new immune-based therapies that could dramatically reduce the global incidence of HIV and tuberculosis. We believe this partnership will add to our portfolio of innovative tools and could make a significant impact."

"We are thrilled about the partnership with the Gates Foundation and the outstanding network of infectious disease specialists that it has built," said Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech. "Targeting severe infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV infection is in line with our mission to leverage our immunotherapy capabilities not only for cancer but also beyond, in disease areas of high medical need".

According to BioNTech, it will retain the rights to market the vaccine and immunotherapy candidates in industrialized countries, but will make the vaccines available cost-effectively to high-risk populations in severely affected countries.