Moderna ties up with Immatics to boost cancer vaccine development

FILE PHOTO: Syringes with needles are seen in front of a displayed Moderna logo in this illustration taken

(Reuters) -Moderna said on Monday it has struck a deal with German drug developer Immatics for developing cancer vaccines and therapies, and would pay $120 million in cash and additional milestone payments.

Moderna said the companies would use Immatics' drug discovery platform to develop mRNA-based cancer vaccines, and also study its own cancer vaccine for use in combination with Immatics' cancer therapy IMA203.

The deal is the latest in Moderna's push to expand beyond COVID as demand for the shots falls dramatically, and develop a vaccine for cancer, a dream that scientists have chased for decades with little success.

Moderna is already developing a cancer vaccine with Merck, which was shown to cut the risk of recurrence or death by 44% in patients with deadly skin cancer melanoma, in a mid-stage trial. It also has vaccines under development for flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), among others.

Under the terms of collaboration, Moderna will lead the development and commercialization of the cancer vaccines resulting from the collaboration, while Immatics will be responsible for pre-clinical and potential early-stage studies.

Immatics will also receive research funding and is eligible for development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments that could exceed $1.7 billion, Moderna said.

Immatics' U.S.-listed shares were up about 7% at $13 before the bell.

(Reporting by Christy Santhosh in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Shounak Dasgupta)