Translate Bio Joins With Sanofi to Make Covid-19 Vaccines

Sanofi will take a 7.2% stake in Translate Bio as part of the deal and give it an initial $425 million payment.

Translate Bio  (TBIO) - Get Report shares skyrocketed Tuesday after French pharmaceutical titan Sanofi  (SNY) - Get Report agreed to make vaccines against the coronavirus together with the Lexington, Mass. biotech company, widening their cooperation.

The companies established a collaboration in 2018 to develop mRNA vaccines for infectious diseases. mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) vaccines instruct human cells to generate proteins that create an immune response to a disease. Translate Bio specializes in mRNA solutions.

The two companies hope to develop an mRNA vaccine for Covid-19.

Sanofi will take a 7.2% stake in Translate Bio as part of the deal and gain exclusive rights to develop, make and sell infectious disease vaccines with Translate Bio’s product. Sanofi will give Translate Bio an initial $425 million payment.

“The Translate Bio and Sanofi Pasteur [a unit of the French company] teams have generated encouraging preclinical data across multiple infectious disease targets, as part of our ongoing mRNA vaccine collaboration,” Ronald Renaud, Translate Bio’s CEO, said in a statement .

“This work will serve as a strong foundation as we direct joint research efforts against Covid-19 to help address this public health threat.”

Sanofi anticipates that the partnership will help enable an mRNA Covid-19 vaccine to begin clinical trials by year-end. If the tests succeed, regulators could approve the vaccine in the second half of 2021.

Sanofi also is working on a coronavirus vaccine with the U.K.’s GlaxoSmithKline and hopes for approval of that product in the first half of 2021.

Translate Bio shares stood at $24.76 in premarket trading, up 52.46%. The stock soared 66% in the three months through Monday.

Sanofi shares traded at $52.58, up 0.15%.