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The companies are expanding their existing collaboration and license agreement to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases.
Sanofi Pasteur announced on June 23, 2020 that it is expanding its existing collaboration and license agreement with Translate Bio, a clinical-stage messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics company, to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases. The expanded agreement is valued at up to $2.3 billion, which includes both an upfront payment and future milestone payments.
Through the agreement, Translate Bio will obtain an upfront payment of $425 million, comprising a $300 million cash payment and a private placement common stock investment of $125 million, a Sanofi press release said. The company will also receive future milestones and other payments of up to $1.9 billion, which includes $450 million of milestones under the original 2018 agreement, and $360 million of anticipated COVID-19 vaccine development milestones. Sanofi will pay for all costs and will gain exclusive worldwide rights for the infectious disease vaccines.
The collaboration will use Translate Bio’s mRNA platform to discover, design, and manufacture vaccine candidates and its transfer technology to aid Sanofi in the development and manufacturing of the vaccines, the press release said. Currently, the companies are assessing various COVID-19 vaccine candidates in vivo for immunogenicity and neutralizing antibody activity with the goal of launching a first-in-human clinical trial in the fourth quarter of 2020.
“As all eyes are on prevention of infectious disease through vaccines, this is a pointed moment in time where we are called upon to seek innovative ways to protect public health,” said Thomas Triomphe, executive vice-president, Sanofi Pasteur, in the press release. “We are excited by the novel technology and expertise Translate Bio brings, and we believe that adding this mRNA platform to our vaccines development capabilities will help us advance prevention against current and future infectious diseases.”
“The expansion of our collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur validates the progress we’ve made in the development of mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases since our work together began in 2018 and also speaks to the potential of our mRNA platform. We are excited to work with Sanofi in this broadened capacity with the goal of ultimately delivering vaccines on a global scale, a need underscored by the current pandemic,” said Ronald Renaud, CEO of Translate Bio, in the press release. “Translate Bio will also be well positioned financially to continue to build upon our internal capabilities with a focus on advancing innovations in platform discovery and on the development of ongoing and additional preclinical therapeutic programs as we aim to bring multiple programs towards clinical development.”