French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi, in an attempt to “unlock the potential of mRNA”, has announced to acquire Massachusetts-based mRNA therapeutics firm, Translate Bio, for $3.2 billion.
This particular announcement was made by the company a month after it had reported to have invested about $500 million in the mRNA technology which has also made its competitors Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines to touch new heights of success.
Sanofi collaboration with the firm aims at developing mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines also targeting some other strategic areas. Being one of the world’s biggest drugmakers, it has failed to bring efficient COVID-19 shots in the market expediently, comparing with its relative upstarts BioNTech (partnering with Pfizer) and Moderna.
This acquisition would boost up Sanofi’s existing projects, as told by the CEO, Paul Hudson. He said, “Our goal is to unlock the potential of mRNA in other strategic areas such as immunology, oncology, and rare diseases in addition to vaccines.”
Unlike other conventional vaccines, where a tiny amount of disease-causing organism are injected into the body stimulating body’s immune response, mRNA-based vaccines introduce genetic material into the body which helps the body to make its own safe components to train the immune system.
The collaboration between the two, that began in June, 2018, rendered two mRNA-based vaccines (for COVID and Influenza) which are in their early stage clinical trials, expecting results by the third or fourth quarter of this year.
The U.S. based firm, Translate Bio, also has some other treatments in its early stage pipeline, including drugs for Cystic Fibrosis and rare lung diseases. The company is now delving into ways in which its mRNA technology can be implemented in treatments for liver diseases and cancer.
The deal between the two companies will expedite the establishment of Sanofi mRNA Center of Excellence. According to Ronald Renaud, CEO of Translate Bio, with the expertise of Sanofi in the development of vaccines, the firm’s mRNA technology “is now even better positioned to reach more people, faster.”
The said technology isn’t new but couldn’t successfully be brought into the market until Pfizer, Moderna and BioNTech made their first move during the COVID-19 pandemic. The successfulness of the technology has already convinced giant pharmas like GSK and Pfizer to exploit it for the treatments of HIV, Influenza (flu), cancer and genital herpes.