Translate Bio (NASDAQ:TBIO), and Sanofi Pasteur have expanded their 2018 partnership and license agreement in a $2 billion deal to develop an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.
Translate and Sanofi to develop mRNA vaccines
The companies are enhancing their relationship to pursue innovative mRNA inoculations that will address COVID-19 as other infectious diseases in the future. This agreement enhances the credentials of Sanofi in the race to discover an effective and safe vaccine against the COVID-19.
As per the agreement, Translate will receive $425 million upfront, which comprises a $300 million cash payment as well as $125 million in common shares placement investment at $25.59 per share. Equally, the US company will be eligible for other milestone payments in the future of around $1.9 billion-plus $450 million in milestone payments as per the 2018 agreement. Interestingly out of these milestone payments, around $360 million expected in the next several years will include the coronavirus vaccine development milestone.
Sanofi to have exclusive global rights to infectious vaccines
Also, Translate Bio will receive tiered royalty payments depending on global sales of vaccines developed. Sanofi is expected to cater to all costs during the term of collaboration, and in return, they will get exclusive rights globally for infectious disease inoculations. The agreement validates the potential of mRNA approach in developing potential vaccines and treatments which other biotech companies such as BioNTech (NASDAQ:BNTX) and Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ:MRNA) are pursuing.
Sanofi will enter clinical trials for its mRNA coronavirus vaccine candidate at the end of the year. If the trials succeed, it will gain regulatory approval by the second half of next year. A statement from the company indicated that the company will supply between 90 million and 360 million doses annually.
Translate Bio CEO, Ronald Renaud, stated that they are currently in preclinical trials. He added that they don’t know the dose for the vaccine for now and will be testing several doses. The recommended dose will depend on what offers the best immunogenicity and safety as well as neutralizing data.