Pfizer and BioNTech both rose in premarket trade on Wednesday after the two firms announced a collaboration to develop an mRNA-based shingles vaccine.
While there are currently vaccinations available for shingles, a debilitating and painful condition, the two businesses hope to develop one that is more effective, tolerable, and cost-effective to produce globally.
According to a joint press release from the firms, product candidates will be based on Pfizer's antigen technology and BioNTech's proprietary mRNA technology, both of which were employed in the companies' very successful Covid-19 vaccine.
Clinical trials will begin in the second half of 2022, according to the press release.
Pfizer will pay BioNTech $225 million upfront, consisting of $75 million in cash and a $150 million equity investment. BioNTech is entitled to up to $200 million in regulatory and sales milestone awards in the future. Pfizer will receive $25 million in exchange for BioNTech's patented antigen technology.
Shingles affect roughly one in every three persons in the United States at some point in their lives. It's a chronic variant of the varicella-zoster virus that causes chickenpox in the first place. The chickenpox virus can remain dormant in human nerve cells after treatment and reactivate later owing to stress or a weakened immune system.