01. June 2021 | 10:05 CET
Defence Therapeutics, CureVac, BioNTech: Vaccine against cancer makes progress
Biotechnology is the map to the holy grail that needs to be found as quickly as possible for many sick people. When the pandemic broke out last year, it accelerated some developments. For example, mRNA technology, which BioNTech and CureVac had already been researching, was successfully launched as a vaccine technology. It is well known that this can be used to develop effective vaccines against coronaviruses and target diseases such as cancer. BioNTech has this option in mind and holds good cards to succeed with it. The young biotech startup Defence Therapeutics has also recently reported its first successes in the fight against cancer.
time to read: 3 minutes by Nico Popp
Defence Therapeutics: Accum™ technology brings active ingredients to the target
Defence Therapeutics specializes in targeting active ingredients, such as vaccines or drugs. To do this, the Company uses antibodies that virtually "piggyback" on certain active ingredients. The antibodies can then dock onto a cancer cell, block a receptor there, and carry the active ingredient into the respective cell. Defence Therapeutics has developed Accum™ technology to facilitate this process, enabling active ingredients to be directed even more effectively into affected cells. Specifically, this is achieved by attaching a specific amino acid chain to the antibody, which increases the cell nucleus concentration of the active ingredient used. These so-called Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADC), i.e. the combination of antibody and active ingredient, are considered promising and innovative in research.
As a second mainstay, Defence Therapeutics is developing vaccines. Since these can also be delivered more effectively to the target using ADC technology, the Company's fields of activity complement each other perfectly. Most recently, Defence Therapeutics reported the success of a pre-clinical study on mice. In this study, mice suffering from cancer were treated with the vaccine AccuVAC-D001 developed by Defence Therapeutics. In the end, 70% of the mice with established solid tumors were cured. While it is still a long way from a pre-clinical study in mice to a vaccine for humans, Defence Therapeutics shows that the dream of curing cancer is no longer a utopia. The Company expects the global market for vaccines to grow by 10.7% each year through 2027. Defence Therapeutics is well positioned to benefit from this innovative technology - either as an independent vaccine manufacturer or an acquisition target. Compared to companies like CureVac or BioNTech, the Canadian Company is still in its infancy. For investors, this can be an opportunity.
CureVac: Is there still something to come?
Latecomers have great opportunities, especially when the top dogs stumble. This is currently the case with CureVac. For months, observers have been waiting for the Corona vaccine from Tübingen to finally be launched on the market. Data on its efficacy are still awaited. In parallel, the Swabians are already working with partner Glaxo-SmithKline on a new generation of the vaccine, and this should enter clinical trials in the third quarter. But brash announcements do not yet ensure success.
In January 2020, CureVac had already made a bold announcement of its intention to develop a vaccine. At the time, the Company was ahead of its Mainz-based rival BioNTech. But BioNTech has overtaken CureVac. While the Tübingen-based Company is seen as a Company that wants to do everything very precisely, BioNTech is taking a different approach and wants to get there quickly. Since BioNTech has been approved since the end of 2020 and has already made a name for itself worldwide, the Mainz-based Company's approach must be considered the more successful. In addition, the numerous virus variants make it more difficult for CureVac to conduct clinical trials. When BioNTech was at this stage, the original type of virus was much more widespread. Today, the pandemic situation is much more complex.
BioNTech has its nose in front - Defence Therapeutics as a biotech insider tip
On the stock market, the prices of BioNTech and CureVac have been diverging since March. Since May, the difference has widened even further. The reason is clear: While CureVac is still researching, BioNTech is already earning money. In the long term, however, it cannot be ruled out that CureVac will get back on track - especially the new-generation vaccine could put the Company on the road to success. For both German biotech companies, however, it is equally true that they are already ambitiously valued. In the case of BioNTech, this valuation has a stronger fundamental basis. For investors who want to follow a trend from the very beginning, however, both shares are already unsuitable today. Defence Therapeutics could be an exciting alternative here. The Accum™ technology, designed to deliver active ingredients precisely to malignant cells, and the initial successes in developing a vaccine against cancer make investors sit up and take notice.