BNT162 is a vaccine candidate based upon mRNA. The four vaccine candidates are the first candidates from BioNTech’s COVID-19-focused project “Lightspeed”, each representing different mRNA formats and target antigens.
Two of the four vaccine candidates include a nucleoside modified mRNA (modRNA), one includes a uridine containing mRNA (uRNA), and the fourth vaccine candidate utilizes self-amplifying mRNA (saRNA). Each mRNA format is combined with a lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation. The larger spike sequence is included in two of the vaccine candidates, and the smaller optimized receptor-binding domain (RBD) from the spike protein is included in the other two candidates.
The RBD-based candidates contain the piece of the spike that is thought to be most important for eliciting antibodies that can inactivate the virus.
During the clinical development stage, BioNTech will provide its partners clinical supply of the vaccine from its GMP-certified mRNA manufacturing facilities in Europe. BioNTech is also collaborating with Fosun Pharma to develop BNT162 in China, where the companies expect to conduct trials.