Sanofi to acquire Translate Bio to develop mRNA tech across vaccines and therapeutics

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags mRNA mRNA vaccine mRNA therapeutics Sanofi

Sanofi will acquire clinical-stage mRNA therapeutics company Translate Bio for $3.2bn.

Sanofi has partnered with Translate Bio since 2018 on mRNA vaccines; most recently with a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

Coming on the back of its announcement to build an mRNA Center of Excellence, Sanofi says the acquisition will help accelerate development of mRNA vaccines and therapeutics. Earlier this year, it also acquired Cambridge, Massachusetts mRNA biotech Tidal Therapeutics.

Translate Bio: platform for mRNA research

Sanofi entered a collaboration with Lexington, Massachusetts Translate Bio to develop mRNA vaccines back in 2018: notably expanding the partnership to a COVID-19 vaccine last year which is currently in a Phase 1/2 study (with results expected in Q3 2021).

A second mRNA clinical trial is ongoing for an mRNA seasonal influenza vaccine Phase 1 trial (results due in Q4 2021).

On the therapeutic side, Translate Bio has an early-stage pipeline in cystic fibrosis and other rare pulmonary diseases. In addition, discovery work is ongoing in diseases that affect the liver, and Translate Bio’s MRT platform may be applied to various classes of treatments, such as therapeutic antibodies or vaccines in areas such as oncology. 

“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 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.”

Ronald Renaud, Chief Executive Officer, Translate Bio, added: “With Sanofi’s long-standing expertise in developing and commercializing vaccines and other innovative medicines on a global scale, Translate Bio’s mRNA technology is now even better positioned to reach more people, faster.

“The talented and dedicated Translate Bio team has built the foundation of a strong mRNA platform. Our expertise coupled with that of Sanofi has driven significant progress under the collaboration thus far, and we believe that this acquisition will strengthen the team’s ability to achieve the full potential of the mRNA technology.”

Sanofi expands mRNA efforts

  • Sanofi announced in June it that it will establish an mRNA Center of Excellence: backed by an annual investment of €400m (US$473m).The center will host approximately 400 employees and will contain teams across R&D, digital, and chemistry, manufacturing and controls (CMC).
    The center will be located across two different sites, Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US, and Marcy, in France. 
  • In April, Sanofi announced it was acquiring Cambridge, Massachusetts biotech Tidal Therapeutics: gaining its novel mRNA-based approach for in vivo reprogramming of immune cells.
    The value of the transaction could reach up to $470m: with the French pharmaceutical giant making an upfront payment of $160m, followed by up to $310m of milestone payments.

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