As part of the expanded partnership, Sanofi will pay Translate Bio $425m (€376m) upfront to gain exclusive worldwide rights to vaccines against infectious diseases using the latter company’s technology.
Translate Bio will also be eligible to receive a further $1.9bn in milestone payments and royalties on any worldwide sales of any products that make their way through to commercialization.
Announced today, the extended deal builds on a previous agreement that was sealed during 2018, which saw the partners agree to develop mRNA vaccines for up to five infectious diseases in a multi-year project.
The two partners already announced that they are working on an mRNA vaccine for COVID-19, with the vaccine candidate being covered by the original 2018 deal.
Regarding development progress on this front, the companies stated that multiple vaccine candidates are being tested in vivo and have plans to enter first-in-human trials during the fourth quarter of 2020.
The latest deal expansion sees the companies work to ‘broadly’ address current and future infectious diseases.
Few further details were provided, except that Translate Bio would use its mRNA platform to identify the vaccine candidates.
At an unspecific point, Sanofi will then advance further development, after Translate Bio transfers technology and processes. Sanofi will be responsible for manufacture of the potential mRNA vaccines at this later stage.
In terms of the projects the two companies are working aside from COVID-19, the companies detailed work on an mRNA vaccine candidate against influenza. The candidate is currently going through preclinical studies, with clinical trials expected mid-year 2021.
For Sanofi, the deal is another investment in the direction of vaccines, after it revealed last week that it would be setting aside €610m for the construction of a vaccine production site and an R&D facility in France.
The company has the financial flexibility to pursue such investments after taking the decision to sell shares in Regeneron worth $13bn last month.