Sanofi bets big on mRNA, inks $3.2B deal for Translate Bio


Acquisition of US partner establishes Sanofi's plan to advance messenger RNA technology for vaccines, therapeutics

Sanofi has officially acquired Translate Bio, a clinical-stage messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics company, for a total of $3.2 billion, as both parties’ boards of directors unanimously approved the deal.

The acquisition follows the French company’s investment in a vaccines mRNA Center for Excellence in late June, and propels Sanofi into the mRNA technology space, as the big pharma looks to make a splash in this sector. However, the relationship even extends further back: in June 2018, Sanofi and Translate Bio entered into a partnership and exclusive license agreement to develop mRNA vaccines, which was further expanded in 2020 to help address current and future infectious diseases.

“Translate Bio adds an mRNA technology platform and strong capabilities to our research, further advancing our ability to explore the promise of this technology to develop both best-in-class vaccines and therapeutics,” said Paul Hudson, Sanofi’s CEO. “A fully owned platform allows us to develop additional opportunities in the fast-evolving mRNA space. We will also be able to accelerate our existing partnered programs already under development. Our goal is to unlock the potential of mRNA in other strategic areas such as immunology, oncology and rare diseases, in addition to vaccines.”

Under the Sanofi-Translate Bio collaboration, there are currently two ongoing mRNA vaccine clinical trials, including the Covid-19 vaccine Phase I/II study and the mRNA seasonal influenza vaccine Phase I trial. Results are expected in Q3 and Q4 of this year, respectively.

On the therapeutic side, among various projects, Translate Bio has an early-stage pipeline in cystic fibrosis and other rare pulmonary diseases.

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