Translate Bio, Sanofi to Jointly Develop Coronavirus Vaccine

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Translate Bio TBIO jumped after the company announced its collaboration with Sanofi SNY to jointly develop a novel messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine for COVID-19.

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

The companies will jointly investigate multiple candidates with the goal of advancing an efficacious and safe SARS-CoV-2 vaccine into clinical development.

Translate Bio has begun to produce multiple mRNA constructs and will use its mRNA platform to discover, design and manufacture SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates. Meanwhile, Sanofi will provide deep vaccine expertise and support from its external research networks to advance vaccine candidates for potential further development.

Translate Bio has established 100 gram single-batch production with its clinical-stage mRNA therapeutics platform. The company has also built a manufacturing space through a contract manufacturing partner to accommodate at least two 250 gram batches per month.

Translate Bio shares have gained 40.1% this year so far, as against the industry’s decline of 21.4%.

 

 

As the coronavirus pandemic is spreading rapidly, biotech companies are scrambling to explore treatments for curing and containing the same. While the drugs and vaccines will need some time to be tested and a cure is not imminent, investors will keep an eye on these companies as the pandemic is unlikely to die out any time soon. The successful development of a vaccine will prevent infection and stop the virus from spreading further. A positive outcome from any of the ongoing studies will be a significant boost for the respective company.

We remind investors that Sanofi announced a collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to advance a novel COVID-19 vaccine candidate this February. The agreement with BARDA calls for Sanofi to initiate development of a recombinant, protein-based vaccine candidate against COVID-19.

Quite a few other companies are also in the race to develop a vaccine.

Moderna, Inc., MRNA has already dosed the first participant in the phase I study of mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273) against SARS-CoV-2. Quite a few others like Novavax, Inc. NVAX) are developing vaccines to address the disease. Ology Bioservices Inc. and Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., are working together to manufacture Inovio's DNA vaccine for prevention from COVID-19. The Department of Defense (DOD) has awarded Ology Bioservices with a contract, valued at $11.9 million.

Big pharmas like Johnson & Johnson and GlaxoSmithKline are making efforts too to develop a vaccine.

Translate Bio currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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