Sanofi and Translate Bio Link on COVID Vaccines

Multiple candidates for clinical trials sought

30.03.2020 -

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of French drugmaker Sanofi, has agreed to collaborate with Translate Bio, a US clinical-stage messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics specialist, on finding a novel mRNA vaccine for COVID-19.

This collaboration will build on the companies’ existing agreement from 2018 to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases, in which they are jointly working to advance mRNA vaccines and mRNA vaccine platform development during a three-year research term.

In their work so far, Sanofi Pasteur and Translate Bio said they have advanced preclinical development vaccine programs including screening, optimization and production of mRNA and LNP formulations across multiple targets.

Translate has now begun to produce multiple mRNA constructs and will use its dedicated platform to discover, design and manufacture a number of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates. Sanofi will contribute its deep vaccine expertise and support from its external research networks to advance vaccine candidates for potential further development.

The Lexington, Massachusetts-based US biotech has established 100-gram single-batch production with its clinical-stage mRNA therapeutics platform. Build-out of dedicated manufacturing space through a contract manufacturing partner is currently under way to accommodate at least two 250-gram batches per month.

Depending on the final human dose, Translate said its platform has “excellent promise” to meet future demands for a pandemic response.

This is the second collaboration Sanofi has established in the pas two months toward the goal of developing a novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate. In February, the French company announced a collaboration with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to initiate development of a recombinant, protein-based vaccine candidate.

“We are committed to leveraging different ways to address the COVID-19 public health crisis by testing treatments, as well as two vaccines using different platforms. We believe the more approaches we explore, the better our likelihood of success in achieving this goal,” said David Loew, global head of Vaccines at Sanofi. “The Translate Bio and Sanofi Pasteur teams have generated encouraging preclinical data,” he noted.

As Sanofi explains, mRNA vaccines represent a potentially innovative alternative to conventional vaccine approaches due to their high potency, their ability to initiate protein production without the need for nuclear entry, their capacity for rapid development and their potential for low-cost manufacture and safe administration using non-viral delivery.