Moderna Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, and Carisma Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical pioneer in engineered macrophage-based therapeutics, announced that the two companies have entered into a strategic collaboration agreement to discover, develop and commercialize in vivo engineered chimeric antigen receptor monocyte (CAR-M) therapeutics for the treatment of cancer.
“We are excited to begin this collaboration with Carisma to further expand our oncology pipeline with a differentiated in vivo cell-therapy approach,” said Stephen Hoge, President of Moderna. “This exemplifies our strategy to partner with companies with deep biological expertise while leveraging Moderna’s core mRNA and LNP capabilities tofurther expand the reach of Moderna’s technology.”
“Moderna’s deep expertise in mRNA and LNP technologies opens up a potentially game-changing opportunity for engineered macrophages,” said Steven Kelly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Carisma. “In vivo delivery directly to monocytes and macrophages enables an off-the-shelf therapeutic approach that uses the patients’ own cells to provide a truly personalized treatment. By combining Carisma’s expertise in engineered macrophage biology and Moderna’s pioneering in vivo mRNA delivery technologies, we are excited about the potential of this novel therapeutic approach for treating cancer. We are thrilled to be working with Moderna.”
About the Collaboration
Under the terms of the agreement, Carisma will receive a $45 million up-front cash payment and an investment by Moderna in the form of a $35 million convertible note. Carisma will receive research funding and is eligible to receive development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, plus royalties on net sales of any products that are commercialized under the agreement. Carisma will be responsible for the discovery and optimization of development candidates while Moderna will lead the clinical development and commercialization of therapeutics resulting from the agreement. Moderna has the option to nominate up to twelve targets for development and commercialization.
In 10 years since its inception, Moderna has transformed from a research-stage company advancing programs in the field of messenger RNA (mRNA), to an enterprise with a diverse clinical portfolio of vaccines and therapeutics across six modalities, a broad intellectual property portfolio in areas including mRNA and lipid nanoparticle formulation, and an integrated manufacturing plant that allows for both clinical and commercial production at scale and at unprecedented speed. Moderna maintains alliances with a broad range of domestic and overseas government and commercial collaborators, which has allowed for the pursuit of both groundbreaking science and rapid scaling of manufacturing. Most recently, Moderna’s capabilities have come together to allow the authorized use of one of the earliest and most-effective vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moderna’s mRNA platform builds on continuous advances in basic and applied mRNA science, delivery technology and manufacturing, and has allowed the development of therapeutics and vaccines for infectious diseases, immuno-oncology, rare diseases, cardiovascular diseases and auto-immune diseases. Moderna has been named a top biopharmaceutical employer by Science for the past seven years.