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Sanofi to Buy mRNA Developer: ETFs in Focus

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Sanofi has agreed to acquire U.S. biotech company Translate Bio in a $3.2 billion deal, as it wants to strengthen its position in the next-generation mRNA vaccine technology, if we go by a Reuters report. The French pharmaceuticals firm would reportedly acquire all outstanding shares of Translate Bio for $38.00 per share in cash, representing a total equity value of about $3.2 billion.

The idea of acquiring a mRNA developer reveals the demand for mRNA vaccines. Sanofi fell back in the race to come up with a Covid-19 vaccine in 2020, as competitors like Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna (MRNA) became famous with mRNA technology.

“Messenger RNA technology works by providing human cells with the genetic instructions to make a surface protein of the coronavirus, which trains the immune system to recognise the real virus,” per a source.

"Since COVID, mRNA vaccines have made a big impact on the future of vaccine R&D and the most obvious target for next-generation mRNA vaccines is influenza," as quoted on a Reuters article. Sanofi and Translate Bio joined hands last year to develop an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine. They expect interim results of their Phase I/II clinical trial in the third quarter.

The two companies intend to bring about mRNA vaccines for several infectious diseases and in June started a Phase I trial evaluating a possible mRNA-based vaccine against seasonal flu. Sanofi expects to seal the acquisition in the third quarter of 2021.

Against this backdrop, below we highlight a few ETFs that could be gainful amid the rising demand for mRNA vaccines.

ETFs in Focus

VanEck Vectors Pharmaceutical ETF ( (PPH - Free Report)  

The underlying MVIS US Listed Pharmaceutical 25 Index tracks the overall performance of companies involved in pharmaceuticals, including pharmaceutical research and development as well a production, marketing and sales of pharmaceuticals. The fund charges 35 bps in fees. The fund puts considerable weight in Sanofi.

Pacer BioThreat Strategy ETF (VIRS - Free Report)

The underlying LifeSci BioThreat Strategy Index comprises of U.S. listed stocks of companies whose products or services help protect against, endure, or recover from biological threats to human health. The fund has exposure to both Sanofi and Moderna. The product charges 70 bps in fees.

Invesco Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBBQ - Free Report)

The underlying Nasdaq Biotechnology Index measures the performance of either biotechnology or pharmaceutical companies. Moderna has about 11% weight in the fund (read: Moderna Soars on Inclusion to S&P 500: ETFs in Focus).

ETFMG Treatments Testing and Advancements ETF (GERM)

The underlying Prime Treatments, Testing and Advancements Index provides investors with a reference measure that enables them to track both event-driven news and long-term trends of companies engaged in developing treatments and vaccines, or diagnostic technology, in the fight against infectious diseases. The fund puts about 10% weight in Moderna.

VanEck Vectors Biotech ETF (BBH - Free Report)

The underlying MVIS US Listed Biotech 25 Index tracks the overall performance of companies involved in the development and production, marketing and sales of drugs based on genetic analysis and diagnostic equipment. The fund puts about 8.9% weight in Moderna (read: Time for Pharma and Healthcare ETFs?).