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Sanofi Expands Agreement With Translate Bio for mRNA Vaccines

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Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) announced that it has agreed to expand its collaboration deal with Translate Bio (TBIO - Free Report) to develop novel messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for several infectious diseases.

We note that Translate Bio entered into a collaboration and exclusive licensing agreement in 2018 with Sanofi Pasteur Inc., the vaccines’ global business unit of Sanofi, to develop mRNA vaccines for up to five infectious disease pathogens.

Per the latest deal, Sanofi Pasteur will receive exclusive worldwide rights to infectious disease vaccines, which will be developed using Translate Bio’s technology. Meanwhile, Translate Bio will receive an upfront payment of $425 million comprising cash payment and equity investment and is also eligible for potential future milestones and other payments worth up to $1.9 billion including $450 million of milestone fees under the 2018 contract.

Translate Bio will also be eligible to receive tiered royalty payments based on the worldwide sales of the developed vaccines.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including termination or expiration of any applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act.

Though Sanofi’s shares were slightly down, Translate Bio stock was up more than 50% in pre-market trading on Jun 23.

Shares of Sanofi have increased 4.5% so far this year against the industry’s decrease of 1.9%.

We note that Sanofi entered into a collaboration with Translate Bio earlier in March to develop a mRNA-based vaccine for combatting COVID-19. The companies plan to initiate a first-in-human clinical study on the same during the fourth quarter of 2020.

The companies are also developing an mRNA-vaccine candidate against influenza in preclinical studies with a clinical study expected to be initiated in mid-2021.

Further, Sanofi along with partner Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (REGN - Free Report) is evaluating the arthritis drug, Kevzara, in a phase II/III study as a treatment option for hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19 infection.

Earlier this month, Sanofi announced that it plans to make an investment of €610 million ($688 million) to create a new production site and research center in France with both dedicated to vaccine developments.

Moreover, the company is committed to introduce a treatment and a vaccine for fighting the coronavirus pandemic, which has hitherto infected millions of people across the globe. Sanofi collaborated with British pharma GlaxoSmithKline (GSK - Free Report) to develop an adjuvant vaccine using Sanofi’s recombinant DNA technology and Glaxo’s proven pandemic adjuvant technology.

Zacks Rank

Sanofi currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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