Clinical-stage messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics company Translate Bio Inc. (TBIO:NASDAQ) and Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines global business unit of Sanofi SA (SNY:NYSE), today announced that "the two firms have agreed to expand their existing 2018 collaboration and license agreement to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases."
The companies advised that under the terms of the expanded 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 to receive additional payments up to $1.9 billion if certain milestones are met as stipulated in the terms of the 2018 agreement.
Sanofi Pasteur will be responsible for all costs during the collaboration term and in return will receive the exclusive worldwide rights for infectious disease vaccines.
Sanofi Pasteur's EVP Thomas Triomphe remarked, "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...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."
Ronald Renaud, CEO of Translate Bio, commented, "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...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 agreement terms, Translate Bio is employing its mRNA platform to create and manufacture vaccine candidates and Sanofi Pasteur is providing vaccine expertise to accelerated and advance vaccine candidates through development.
The teams are already working together on several COVID-19 vaccine candidates in vivo for immunogenicity and neutralizing antibody activity to support lead candidate selection and the companies hope to initiate a first-in-human clinical trial in Q4/20.
The Sanofi Pasteur and Translate Bio collaboration was initially formed in 2018, whereby Translate Bio entered into an exclusive license agreement with Sanofi Pasteur to develop mRNA vaccines for up to five infectious disease pathogens. The agreement was later expanded to include the collaborative development of a novel mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 in March 2020.
Sanofi, based in Paris, is a $131.0 billion market cap global biopharmaceutical company involved in research, development, manufacture and marketing of therapeutic solutions. The firm employs more than 100,000 people in 100 countries.
Translate Bio is a clinical-stage mRNA therapeutics company headquartered in Lexington, Mass. The firm concentrates its efforts on developing a new class of potentially transformative medicines to treat diseases caused by protein or gene dysfunction. Translate Bio is mostly focused utilizing it technology to treat pulmonary diseases caused by insufficient protein production or where the reduction of proteins can modify disease.
Translate Bio began the day with a market capitalization of around $1.0 billion with approximately 62.91 million shares outstanding and a short interest of about 2.9%. TBIO shares opened 52% higher today at $24.69 (+$8.45, +52.03%) over yesterday's $16.24 closing price and reached a new 52-week high price this morning of $27.24. The stock has traded today between $21.56 and $27.24 per share and is currently trading at $23.60 (+$7.36, +45.32%).[NLINSERT]
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