Rare Daily Staff

French pharma Sanofi will acquire clinical stage mRNA therapeutics biotech Translate Bio for $3.2 billion as it attempts to accelerate the application of mRNA to develop therapeutics and vaccines.

One year after striking a deal with the biotech to develop mRNA-based vaccines that included an upfront and equity payment of $425 million, Sanofi will pay $38 per share in cash for the whole company. The purchase price represents a premium of 56 percent to Translate Bio’s volume-weighted average price per share over the past 60 days. It has been unanimously approved by both boards of directors.

“Translate Bio adds an mRNA technology platform and strong capabilities to our research, further advancing our ability to explore the promise of this technology to develop both best-in-class vaccines and therapeutics,” said Paul Hudson, Sanofi Chief Executive Officer. “A fully owned platform allows us to develop additional opportunities in the fast-evolving mRNA space. We will also be able to accelerate our existing partnered programs already under development. Our goal is to unlock the potential of mRNA in other strategic areas such as immunology, oncology, and rare diseases in addition to vaccines.”

In June 2018, Sanofi and Translate Bio entered into a collaboration and exclusive license agreement to develop mRNA vaccines that 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 with results expected in in the third quarter of 2021 and the mRNA seasonal influenza vaccine phase 1 trial with results due in the fourth quarter of 2021. The acquisition builds on Sanofi’s establishment of a first-of-its kind vaccines mRNA Center of Excellence.

On the therapeutic side, Translate Bio has an early-stage pipeline in cystic fibrosis and other rare pulmonary diseases. 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.

“Sanofi and Translate Bio have a shared commitment to innovation in the mRNA space. With Sanofi’s long-standing expertise in developing and commercializing vaccines and other innovative medicines on a global scale, Translate Bio’s mRNA technology is now even better positioned to reach more people, faster,” said Ronald Renaud, Chief Executive Officer, Translate Bio.

Photo: Ronald Renaud, CEO of Translate Bio

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