WuXi Biologics, through its Research Service Unit, has signed a research service agreement with German biotechnology company BioNTech to develop new therapeutic candidates.

Under the partnership, China-based WuXi Biologics will leverage its antibody discovery technology platforms to discover two preclinical investigational monoclonal antibodies for BioNTech.

The Chinese company will grant exclusive rights to the investigational monoclonal antibodies to BioNTech in exchange for an upfront payment of $20m and additional payments.

The additional payments include payments for research, development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, along with tiered royalties.

WuXi Biologics CEO Chris Chen said: “Our unique CRDMO model is proven again. We are very pleased to support BioNTech’s growing innovative pipeline with antibodies discovered through our leading integrated discovery platforms.

“This agreement demonstrates our continued recognition as an industry leader in discovery service solutions and further validates our ability to provide integrated discovery technology platforms for global partners to develop new modalities.

“We are looking forward to working with BioNTech with the aim of bringing potential new therapeutics with improved outcomes to patients worldwide.”

WuXi Bio provides a complete spectrum of both end-to-end and modular discovery services using advanced technology platforms and comprehensive discovery capabilities.

The company has separate technology platforms for the discovery, generation, characterisation, engineering, optimisation and selection of novel antibodies and biological therapeutics.

The platforms include hybridoma technology, single B cell cloning technology, phage display and yeast display technology, immune and synthetic human scFv and VHH libraries.

WuXi also has human IgG transgenic platforms, through an OmniAb and Alloy partnership, WuXiBody and SDarBody bispecific or multispecific antibody platforms, among others.

All the technology platforms are supported by WuXi Bio’s comprehensive research material generation and assay development capabilities.

In July 2022, WuXi Biol expanded its MFG14 facility in Hangzhou, China, to manufacture microbial-derived products to address the growing market demand.

The same month, the company announced a $1.4bn investment in Singapore for 10 years to build a new biomanufacturing facility that will add 120,000L manufacturing capacity by 2026.

Last year, WuXi Bio agreed to license British drugmaker GSK up to four bi- and multi-specific T cell engager (TCE) antibodies for up to $1.5bn.