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29 Jun 2021

Sanofi to accelerate mRNA vaccines through new Center of Excellence

The company will invest €400 million per year to advance mRNA technology beyond the pandemic

Sanofi plans to create a Center of Excellence to advance vaccines using mRNA technology across sites at Cambridge, Massachusetts and Marcy l'Etoile in France, the French pharmaceutical company has announced.

Approximately 400 employees integrating end-to-end mRNA vaccine capabilities with dedicated R&D, digital, and CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls) teams across the two sites will work to develop mRNA vaccines across all infectious disease areas.

To fund the Center of Excellence, the French company has pledged a "massive" investment — approximately €400 million a year.

The Center will work to accelerate the mRNA vaccines portfolio developed through the collaboration it established  with specialist mRNA therapeutics company Translate Bio in 2018 and expanded in 2020.

Under the agreement, the companies are jointly conducting research and development activities to advance mRNA vaccines and mRNA vaccine platform development during a research term of at least four years after the original signing in 2018.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mRNA technology stole a march on alternatives and demonstrated its potential to deliver new vaccines quickly. Now, Sanofi is keen to innovate mRNA vaccines beyond the pandemic to routine use in diseases with high unmet need.

Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President, Global Head of Sanofi's vaccine unit, Sanofi Pasteur said: “Although mRNA won’t be the solution for every infectious disease ... It now becomes a critical new technology in our comprehensive vaccines toolbox, one which could help reinvent health protection in the future.”

Sanofi says it expects to develop a minimum of six clinical candidates by 2025.

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