Innovative Collaboration to Develop mRNA Vaccines Announced

Translate Bio expands Sanofi Pasteur agreement to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases
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(Precision Vaccinations)

Sanofi Pasteur and Translate Bio announced they have agreed to expand their existing collaboration and license agreement to develop messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for infectious diseases.

Under the expansion agreement announced on June 23, 2020, Translate Bio is using its mRNA platform to discover, design, and manufacture vaccine candidates and Sanofi Pasteur is providing its deep vaccine expertise to advance vaccine candidates into and through further development. 

Translate Bio will also transfer technology and processes to allow Sanofi Pasteur to develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases.

These companies are currently evaluating multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates in vivo for immunogenicity and neutralizing antibody activity to support lead candidate selection and the companies have the goal of initiating a first-in-human clinical trial in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Additionally, the companies are also advancing an mRNA vaccine development candidate against influenza through preclinical studies with clinical trial initiation anticipated in mid-year 2021. 

Furthermore,  mRNA vaccine development programs under the collaboration include another viral pathogen and a bacterial pathogen.

“As all eyes are on prevention of infectious disease through vaccines, this is a pointed moment in time where we are called upon to seek innovative ways to protect public health,” said Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President, Sanofi Pasteur, in a press statement.

“We are excited by the novel technology and expertise Translate Bio brings, and we believe that adding this mRNA platform to our vaccine development capabilities will help us advance prevention against current and future infectious diseases.”

Vaccines work by mimicking disease agents to stimulate the immune system; building up a defense mechanism that remains active in the body to fight future infections. mRNA vaccines offer an innovative approach by delivering a nucleotide sequence encoding the antigen or antigens selected for their high potential to induce a protective immune response, stated this press release.

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

This approach potentially enables the development of vaccines for disease areas where vaccination is not a viable option today. 

And, the desired antigen or multiple antigens can be expressed from mRNA without the need to adjust the production process offering maximum flexibility and efficiency in development.

Previously, Translate Bio entered into a collaboration and exclusive license agreement with Sanofi Pasteur Inc., the vaccines' global business unit of Sanofi, to develop mRNA vaccines for up to 5 infectious disease pathogens. 

This 2018 agreement was first expanded in March 2020 to include the collaborative development of a novel mRNA vaccine for COVID-19.

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