New partnership to boost research into vaccines for cancer

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay to sign memorandum of understanding with BioNTech SE today to bring innovative vaccine research to England with the potential to transform outcomes for cancer patients.

The collaboration will aim to deliver 10,000 personalised therapies to UK patients by 2030 through a new research and development hub creating jobs and strengthening the UK’s position as a leader in global life sciences.

The new partnership will help accelerate clinical trials of personalised immunotherapies for cancer and infectious disease vaccines. Trials into vaccines for cancer and wider diseases will accelerate after the government reached a historic agreement with a leading biopharmaceutical firm to bring revolutionary research to England.

A memorandum of understanding will be signed today by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Steve Barclay and the Germany-based company BioNTech, which previously developed a world-leading COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer.

The agreement means cancer patients will get early access to trials exploring personalised mRNA therapies, like cancer vaccines. No 2 cancers are the same and mRNA vaccines will contain a genetic blueprint to stimulate the immune system to attack cancer cells.

Access to the trials will be through the Cancer Vaccine Launch Pad, which is being developed by NHS England and Genomics England.

The launch pad will help to rapidly identify large numbers of cancer patients who could be eligible for the trials and explore potential vaccines across multiple types of cancer. Trials for innovative treatments could start as early as autumn 2023.

The partnership will aim to help patients with early- and late-stage cancers. If successfully developed, the cancer vaccines could become part of standard care.