Pfizer and BioNTech granted FDA Fast Track designation for two investigational mRNA-based vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2

Alternative Medicine

PfizerPfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX, “BioNTech”) announced that two of the companies’ four investigational vaccine candidates from their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine program (BNT162b1 and BNT162b2) being developed to help protect against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), received Fast Track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). BNT162b1 and BNT162b2 are the two most advanced vaccine candidates in the BNT162 program currently being evaluated in ongoing Phase 1/2 clinical studies in the United States and Germany.

Fast Track is a process designed to facilitate the development, and expedite the review, of new drugs and vaccines that are intended to treat or prevent serious conditions that have the potential to address an unmet medical need.(1) This designation was granted based on preliminary data from Phase 1/2 studies that are currently ongoing in the United States and Germany as well as animal immunogenicity studies. The companies released early data from the ongoing U.S. Phase 1/2 study for the product candidate BNT162b1 on July 1, 2020. The manuscript is available on the online preprint server medRxiv and is concurrently undergoing scientific peer-review for potential publication. Early data from the German trial of BNT162b1 are expected to be released in July.

The BNT162 program is evaluating at least four experimental vaccines, each of which represent a unique combination of messenger RNA (mRNA) format and target antigen. BNT162b1 and BNT162b2 are both nucleoside modified RNAs, formulated in lipid nanoparticles. BNT162b1 encodes an optimized SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) antigen, while BNT162b2 encodes an optimized SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein antigen.

“The FDA’s decision to grant these two COVID-19 vaccine candidates Fast Track designation signifies an important milestone in the efforts to develop a safe and effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2,” said Peter Honig, Senior Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs, Pfizer. “We look forward to continue working closely with the FDA throughout the clinical development of this program, Project Lightspeed, to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these vaccine candidates.”

“We are pleased to have received Fast Track designation from the FDA for two of our vaccine candidates and look forward to working closely with the FDA, along with our partner Pfizer, to expedite the clinical development path forward,” said Özlem Türeci, Chief Medical Officerat BioNTech.

The Project Lightspeed vaccine development program is based on BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA-based technology platforms and supported by Pfizer’s global vaccine development capabilities. The BNT162 vaccine candidates are undergoing clinical studies and are not currently approved for distribution anywhere in the world. Pfizer and BioNTech are committed to developing these novel vaccines with pre-clinical and clinical data at the forefront of all decision-making of both companies. Subject to regulatory approval, the companies are expecting to start a Phase 2b/3 trial as soon as later this month and are anticipating enrolling up to 30,000 subjects. If the ongoing studies are successful, and the vaccine candidate receives regulatory approval, the companies currently expect to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and potentially more than 1.2 billion doses by the end of 2021.

About Pfizer: Breakthroughs That Change Patients’ Lives

At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us.

About BioNTech

Biopharmaceutical New Technologies is a next generation immunotherapy company pioneering novel therapies for cancer and other serious diseases. The Company exploits a wide array of computational discovery and therapeutic drug platforms for the rapid development of novel biopharmaceuticals. Its broad portfolio of oncology product candidates includes individualized and off-the-shelf mRNA-based therapies, innovative chimeric antigen receptor T cells, bi-specific checkpoint immuno-modulators, targeted cancer antibodies and small molecules. Based on its deep expertise in mRNA vaccine development and in-house manufacturing capabilities, BioNTech and its collaborators are developing multiple mRNA vaccine candidates for a range of infectious diseases alongside its diverse oncology pipeline. BioNTech has established a broad set of relationships with multiple global pharmaceutical collaborators, including Genmab, Sanofi, Bayer Animal Health, Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, Genevant, Fosun Pharma, and Pfizer.


1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Fast Track https://www.fda.gov/ForPatients/Approvals/Fast/ucm405399.htm

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