Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business of French pharma firm Sanofi, has agreed to acquire exclusive license of Translate Bio’s mRNA technology to develop messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines in a deal that could be worth up to $805m.
The two companies have entered into a multi-year research and development collaboration to develop the vaccines for a maximum of five undisclosed infectious disease pathogens.
As per the terms of the agreement, the partners plan to undertake research and development activities to advance mRNA vaccines for an initial three-year research term.
Sanofi Pasteur R&D senior vice president John Shiver said: “We believe mRNA technology has significant potential for rapid and versatile manufacturing, reduced industrialization costs for multiple vaccines, and the improved breadth of immune response for infectious disease vaccines.
“The Translate Bio platform may allow us to further address medical needs worldwide, including those not readily accessible using conventional vaccine strategies.”
The deal, which will be subject to customary closing conditions, will see the Massachusetts-based Translate Bio get an upfront payment of $45m from Sanofi Pasteur.
Furthermore, the US firm will also be eligible for future payments from Sanofi Pasteur related to certain development, regulatory and sales-related milestones for the various vaccine targets. It will also receive option exercise fees should Sanofi Pasteur exercise an option to develop vaccines for additional pathogens, taking the total deal value to about $805m.
Translate Bio will also receive tiered royalty payments related to the global sales of the developed vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur will cover all the costs during the research term and will be granted exclusive worldwide commercialization rights.
Translate Bio will take up the responsibility of clinical manufacture of the vaccines and will be eligible to get additional payments under a separate supply agreement to be created.
Translate Bio CEO Ronald Renaud said: “Sanofi Pasteur is at the forefront of vaccine research and development which makes them an ideal partner as we expand upon our promising early efforts in vaccines.
“We believe that this partnership validates the potential of our mRNA platform, and also enables us to apply our mRNA technology beyond the current therapeutic applications that we are pursuing in cystic fibrosis (CF) and ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, ultimately advancing our goal of delivering innovative medicines to patients.”
Image: One of the worldwide locations of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business of Sanofi. Photo: courtesy of Sanofi Pasteur / Alltron.