Sanofi and Translate Bio expand collaboration to develop mRNA vaccines across all infectious disease areas

SanofiSanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, and Translate Bio (NASDAQ: TBIO), a clinical-stage messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics company, have agreed to expand their existing 2018 collaboration and license agreement to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases.

The expansion of this agreement will further unite Translate Bio’s expertise and knowledge from more than 10 years of mRNA research and development with Sanofi's leadership in vaccine research and development. Under the expansion agreement, Translate Bio will receive a total upfront payment of $425 million, consisting of a $300 million cash payment and a private placement common stock investment of $125 million at $25.59 per share representing a 50 percent premium to the 20-day moving average share price prior to signing. Translate Bio will also be eligible for potential future milestones and other payments up to $1.9 billion, including $450 million of milestones under the 2018 agreement. Of these potential milestones and other payments, approximately $360 million are anticipated over the next several years, inclusive of COVID-19 vaccine development milestones. In addition, Translate Bio is also eligible to receive tiered royalty payments based upon worldwide sales of the developed vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur will pay for all costs during the collaboration term. Under this agreement Sanofi Pasteur will receive exclusive worldwide rights for infectious disease vaccines.

"As all eyes are on prevention of infectious disease through vaccines, this is a pointed moment in time where we are called upon to seek innovative ways to protect public health," said Thomas Triomphe, Executive Vice President, Sanofi Pasteur. "We are excited by the novel technology and expertise Translate Bio brings, and we believe that adding this mRNA platform to our vaccines development capabilities will help us advance prevention against current and future infectious diseases."

"The expansion of our collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur validates the progress we’ve made in the development of mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases since our work together began in 2018 and also speaks to the potential of our mRNA platform. We are excited to work with Sanofi in this broadened capacity with the goal of ultimately delivering vaccines on a global scale, a need underscored by the current pandemic," said Ronald Renaud, Chief Executive Officer of Translate Bio. "Translate Bio will also be well positioned financially to continue to build upon our internal capabilities with a focus on advancing innovations in platform discovery and on the development of ongoing and additional preclinical therapeutic programs as we aim to bring multiple programs towards clinical development."

Under the collaboration, Translate Bio is using its mRNA platform to discover, design and manufacture vaccine candidates and Sanofi Pasteur is providing its deep vaccine expertise to advance vaccine candidates into and through further development. Translate Bio will also transfer technology and processes to allow Sanofi Pasteur to develop and manufacture mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases.

The teams are currently evaluating multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates in vivo for immunogenicity and neutralizing antibody activity to support lead candidate selection and the companies have the goal of initiating a first-in-human clinical trial in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The companies are also advancing an mRNA vaccine development candidate against influenza through preclinical studies with clinical trial initiation anticipated in mid-year 2021. Additional mRNA vaccine development programs under the collaboration include another viral pathogen and a bacterial pathogen.

The transactions, including the equity sale, are subject to customary closing conditions, including termination or expiration of any applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. For more information regarding the financial and other terms of the agreement, please refer to the Current Report on Form 8-K which will be filed by Translate Bio with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission on June 23, 2020.

Evercore acted as financial advisor to Translate Bio for the expansion of the collaboration agreement.

About mRNA Vaccines

Vaccines work by mimicking disease agents to stimulate the immune system; building up a defense mechanism that remains active in the body to fight future infections. mRNA vaccines offer an innovative approach by delivering a nucleotide sequence encoding the antigen or antigens selected for their high potential to induce a protective immune response. mRNA vaccines also represent a potentially innovative alternative to conventional vaccine approaches for several reasons - their high potency, ability to initiate protein production without the need for nuclear entry, capacity for rapid development and potential for low-cost manufacture and safe administration using non-viral delivery. This approach potentially enables the development of vaccines for disease areas where vaccination is not a viable option today. Additionally, a desired antigen or multiple antigens can be expressed from mRNA without the need to adjust the production process offering maximum flexibility and efficiency in development.

About the Sanofi Pasteur and Translate Bio collaboration

In 2018, Translate Bio entered into a collaboration and exclusive license agreement with Sanofi Pasteur Inc., the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi, to develop mRNA vaccines for up to five infectious disease pathogens. This agreement was first expanded in March 2020 to include the collaborative development of a novel mRNA vaccine for COVID-19. This collaboration brings together Sanofi Pasteur’s leadership in vaccines and Translate Bio’s mRNA research and development expertise. 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. Translate Bio and Sanofi Pasteur have advanced the preclinical development vaccine programs including screening, optimization and production of mRNA and LNP formulations across multiple targets.

About Translate Bio

Translate Bio is a clinical-stage mRNA therapeutics company developing a new class of potentially transformative medicines to treat diseases caused by protein or gene dysfunction. Translate Bio is primarily focused on applying its technology to treat pulmonary diseases caused by insufficient protein production or where the reduction of proteins can modify disease. Translate Bio’s lead mRNA therapeutic program is being developed as a treatment for cystic fibrosis (CF) and is in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial. The Company also believes its technology is applicable to a broad range of diseases, including diseases that affect the liver. Additionally, the platform may be applied to various classes of treatments, such as therapeutic antibodies or vaccines in areas such as infectious disease and oncology.

About Sanofi

Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.

With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.

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