Our Aim

The Mutanome Engineered RNA Immuno-Therapy (MERIT) project clinically translates and industrially validates an entirely new RNA-based personalized immunotherapy approach to target individual tumor antigen signatures and to create a biomarker-guided personalized treatment for patients suffering from triple negative breast cancer.

A BioNTech Initiative

BioNTech AG is dedicated to develop personalized medicine for the treatment of diseases with high medical need using novel and cutting edge technologies.

To clinically translate the pioneering personalized approach BioNTech initiated the MERIT project and joined forces with superb academic institutions with outstanding experience in immunotherapy and personalized medicine. The MERIT consortium consists of five partners in Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland who are dedicated to apply the best science for the benefit of patients and further optimize the personalized vaccination approach.

The MERIT initiative has received research funding from the European Union and is coordinated by BioNTech AG.

Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, Chief Executive Officer of BioNTech AG and coordinating the MERIT consortium, said:

“With the MERIT project we take an exciting step forward to personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines and patient care. This novel approach marks a fundamental paradigm shift in the therapeutic management of cancer patients since the approach is suited to provide a truly individualized and targeted drug development at unprecedented speed.”

To date, personalized medicine is understood as the stratified use of established drugs.  The partners have developed the concept of personalized medicine beyond this stage. Using latest state-of-the-art technologies including next-generation sequencing and computational medicine, it is now possible to develop a fundamentally novel approach to tailor therapies for the individual patient.

Human cancers express immunogenic shared tumor antigens and carry dozen to hundreds of non-synonymous mutations, many of which are targetable by vaccines.   Novel technologies enable the identification of fingerprint of the individual tumor.

This highly individual tumor “signature” can be than used to generate a personalized immunotherapy for the treatment of an individual patient. The general principle of active cancer immunotherapy is based on the induction of the patients’ immune system against tumor associated or tumor specific antigens and subsequent control or eradication of tumors.