Sanofi Makes $480 Million Push to Stay Competitive in Vaccines

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Sanofi will invest 400 million euros ($477 million) a year in messenger-RNA technology to give it an edge in treating infectious diseases beyond Covid-19.

The French drugmaker is bringing together about 400 workers from Massachusetts and France as part of an mRNA “center of excellence” focused on everything from basic research to manufacturing, it said in a statement Tuesday.

Ordinarily a giant in the vaccines space, Sanofi has struggled to bring a product to market against Covid during the pandemic while upstarts BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. have already inoculated hundreds of millions of people with their ground-breaking mRNA shots. Sanofi’s two candidates against Covid -- one of which uses mRNA technology -- are still undergoing clinical trials.

With the initiative, Sanofi wants to speed up its pipeline of mRNA products being developed with U.S. biotech company Translate Bio Inc. It aims to make mRNA shots that are more stable at average temperatures and less likely to cause side effects, Jean-Francois Toussaint, head of research and development at Sanofi’s vaccines unit, said in the statement.

Sanofi expects at least six mRNA vaccine candidates in clinical trials by 2025. It’s funding the effort by reallocating existing development money.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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