BioNTech – CAR T therapy

BioNTech – CAR T Animated Video


BioNTech: Mechanism of Action Animation

BioNTech has been in the spotlight recently, being the first European biotech company entering human trials with its mRNA vaccine for Covid-19 (in partnership with Pfizer). The vaccine, if proven safe and effective, could be the first approved vaccine against this coronavirus, which the whole world is waiting for.

But first and foremost, BioNTech is one of the pioneers in the field of individualized cancer treatments, simultaneously developing different classes of drugs against cancer:

  • mRNA-based immunotherapies/vaccines (for which 2019 funding is considered one of the largest ever biotech funding rounds in Europe)
  • antibodies
  • small-molecule immunomodulators
  • and engineered cell therapies

We were asked by BioNTech to animate the Mechanism of Action of one of their engineered cell therapies – the CAR T therapy



We have chosen a minimalistic 2D medical style to help the viewer grasp the complex molecular details better. Bright background and contrasting colorful elements help direct the viewer’s eye to the key action of each scene.



A powerful new therapy called CAR T enables the immune system to specifically recognize and destroy tumor cells.

CARs are chimeric antigen receptors that combine the antigen-binding domain of a tumor-specific antibody with T cell signaling domains and are introduced into the patient’s own T cells. The resulting CAR T cells are then able to specifically recognize and kill tumor cells.

Highly efficient CAR T therapies have been developed for blood-borne, so-called liquid cancers leading to enormous response rates up to complete tumor regression in the majority of treated patients. As CARs are highly potent in mediating target cell killing, precise targeting, as well as the absence of the target in healthy tissue, is of seminal importance. But finding suitable targets to treat solid tumors with CAR-T therapy so far has been a challenge.

In order to develop a CAR T therapy to treat solid cancers, BioNTech selected the oncofetal antigen Claudin-6 that has all features of an excellent CAR target. It is completely absent from any healthy tissue but present on the surface of many high medical need cancers such as ovarian, endometrial, testicular, and lung cancer.

BioNTech is now preparing clinical trials using Claudin-6 CAR T cells. Once the presence of Claudin-6 in a tumor is confirmed, blood is collected from the patient and taken to BioNTech´s GMP facility. There, T cells will be isolated to introduce the Claudin-6 CAR by retroviral gene transfer. The resulting CAR-T cells can then be expanded and infused back into the patient, where they shall reach and kill the tumor.

This novel Claudin-6 CAR T therapy has the potential to pave the way for efficient treatment of solid tumors.

CLDN6 overexpression has been detected in various high medical need cancers including ovarian, endometrial, testicular, lung, and rare pediatric brain cancers.


Read more about engineered cell therapies here:

See more of our medical animations here.