Sanofi to acquire Origimm Biotechnology, gaining therapeutic acne vaccine candidate
It marks Sanofi’s first move into skin immunology and the skin microbiome as it champions its strategy to build an ‘industry-leading’ vaccines pipeline.
Founded in 2012, Origimm specializes in the discovery of virulent skin microbiome components and antigens from bacteria causing skin disease, such as acne. Its therapeutic vaccine candidate for acne vulgaris ORI-001, is based on recombinant proteins, and entered preliminary clinical studies in Q3 this year.
In parallel, Sanofi is working to develop additional antigen versions and expects to leverage its mRNA platform in a Phase 1/2 trial to start in 2023.
“The acquisition of Origimm further broadens our vaccines R&D pipeline with a first vaccine candidate against acne, a high medical need for millions of teenagers and adults,” says Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Sanofi Pasteur.
“Welcoming Origimm within Sanofi expands our area of expertise by bringing extensive know-how in the field of skin microbiome and skin immunology. We look forward to unlocking the full potential of this candidate”.
Origimm develops preventive and therapeutic products that act against those skin-colonizing bacteria that can induce skin disease. Unlike acne treatments, its therapy would address the root cause of the disease, rather than treat the symptoms.
Diseases caused by skin microbes are more complex than classic infections because the same microbes that appear harmless, or even beneficial, on the surface of skin can become pathogenic under certain conditions.
Origimm has identified the proteins produced by bacteria when it reacts to an increase in sebum secretion from the skin's pores, thus creating a specific immune response for when the bacterium breaches the skin.
“Recent scientific findings about the role of Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) in acne vulgaris have opened the path for the development of a new, highly specific and efficacious acne therapy," notes Origimm.
"Our therapeutic product is designed to support the human immune system in controlling the growth of P. acnes on the skin and prevent it from damaging the cellular lining of the pores.
"Our intention is not just to provide a more effective treatment of acne, but also to prevent its formation in the first place, thereby avoiding any potential skin damage (scarring). Therefore, both therapeutic and prophylactic immunotherapy may be possible.”
The acquisition is expected to close early December 2021.