Sanofi, Translate Bio Expand Pact for $2.3 Bn to Develop mRNA VaccinesBy
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business unit of Sanofi, and Translate Bio, a clinical-stage messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics company, have agreed to expand their existing 2018 collaboration and license agreement to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases, including COVID-19 vaccine candidates, in a deal worth up to $2.3 billion ($425 million upfront, and up to $1.9 billion of potential milestones/payments).
Under the expansion agreement, Translate Bio will receive a total upfront payment of $425 million, consisting of a $300 million cash payment and a private-placement common stock investment of $125 million at $25.59 per share. Translate Bio will also be eligible for potential future milestones and other payments up to $1.9 billion, including $450 million of milestones under the 2018 agreement. Of these potential milestones and other payments, approximately $360 million are anticipated over the next several years, inclusive of COVID-19 vaccine-development milestones. In addition, Translate Bio is also eligible to receive tiered royalty payments based upon global sales of the developed vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur will pay for all costs during the collaboration term. Under this agreement, Sanofi Pasteur will receive exclusive global rights for infectious disease vaccines.
Under the collaboration, Translate Bio is using its mRNA platform to discover, design and manufacture vaccine candidates, and Sanofi Pasteur is providing its vaccine knowledge 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.
Sanofi says the teams are currently evaluating multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates in vivo for immunogenicity and neutralizing antibody activity to support lead-candidate selection. The companies have the goal of initiating a first-in-human clinical trial in the fourth quarter of 2020 (as reported on June 23, 2020). The companies are also advancing an mRNA vaccine development candidate against influenza through preclinical studies with clinical-trial initiation anticipated in mid-year 2021. Additional mRNA vaccine development programs under the collaboration include another viral pathogen and a bacterial pathogen.
The transactions, including the equity sale, are subject to customary closing conditions, including termination or expiration of any applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.