Sanofi ditches mRNA COVID-19 vaccine amid rivals’ success
PARIS — Sanofi is dropping plans for its own mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine because of the dominant role of the BioNTech-Pfizer alliance as well as Moderna in the fight against the pandemic, the company said on Tuesday.
The French healthcare group will instead focus on efforts with British partner GlaxoSmithKline to bring a COVID-19 vaccine candidate to market based on the more conventional protein-based approach, where mass trials are ongoing.
The decision to drop clinical development of the mRNA shot, acquired as part of its takeover of Translate Bio, came despite positive positive Phase I/II study interim results announced on Tuesday where participants’ blood readings showed a strong immune reaction.
But Sanofi said the read-out encouraged it only to pursue the technology as a potential vaccine against influenza and other diseases, giving up on the area of COVID-19 because of the strong market presence of the two approved mRNA shots.
“These results will clearly help inform the path forward for our mRNA development programs,” said Jean-Francois Toussaint, global head of research and development at Sanofi Pasteur.