French pharmaceuticals firm Sanofi has entered into a defiitive agreement to acquire Translate Bio, a clinical-stage mRNA therapeutics company for approximately USD 3.2 Bn, by acquiring all outstanding shares at USD 38.00 per share in cash. Translate Bio’s MRTTM platform (mRNA technology platform) will accelerate development of Sanofi’s current partnered programs and also explore the potential use of the technology in other segments such as immunology, oncology, and rare diseases in addition to vaccines.
Sanofi’s bid for Translate Bio follows the proven success of mRNA therapeutics in COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna. In June 2018, Sanofi and Translate Bio entered into a collaboration and exclusive license agreement to develop mRNA vaccines which was further expanded in 2020 to broadly address current and future infectious diseases. There are two ongoing mRNA vaccine clinical trials under the collaboration, the COVID-19 vaccine Phase 1/2 study and the mRNA seasonal influenza vaccine Phase 1 trial. The acquisition builds on Sanofi’s establishment of a first-of-its kind vaccines mRNA Center of Excellence.
The messenger RNA approach, an area of Translate Bio expertise, instructs human cells to make specific proteins that produce an immune response to a given disease. Translate Bio, set up in 2016, has a clinical-stage pulmonary product using its mRNA platform is being tested as an inhaled treatment for cystic fibrosis in a Phase I/II clinical trial. In addition, discovery work is ongoing in diseases that affect the liver, and Translate Bio’s MRTTM platform may be applied to various classes of treatments, such as therapeutic antibodies or vaccines in areas such as oncology. Sanofi’s recent acquisition of Tidal Therapeutics expanded the company’s mRNA research capabilities in both immuno-oncology and inflammatory diseases. The Translate Bio acquisition further accelerates Sanofi’s efforts to develop transformative medicines using mRNA technology.
This integration will be vital for Translate Bio to upgrade drug formulation capabilities and use Sanofi’s expertise in developing and commercializing medicines on global scale. For Sanofi, it gives the opportunity to explore and accelerate development of mRNA technology based therapeutic products. The mRNA platform has been garnering much interest post the success of the COVID-19 vaccines and will be a segment to watch out for in the coming years and for therapeutic and vaccines.