French giant Sanofi scores potential bargain with buyout of clinical stage mRNA company Translate Bio.
Sanofi announced it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding shares of Translate Bio, a clinical-stage mRNA therapeutics company, for $38 per share in cash, representing an equity value of approximately $3.2 billion. The purchase price represents a premium of 30% to Translate’s closing share price yesterday, in what is seen as a potential bargain given the attractiveness of mRNA technology at the moment. The transaction represents the French giant’s ambitions “to accelerate the application of messenger RNA (mRNA) to develop therapeutics and vaccines”, read the statement. “Translate Bio adds an mRNA technology platform and strong capabilities to our research, further advancing our ability to explore the promise of this technology to develop both best-in-class vaccines and therapeutics,” said Paul Hudson, Sanofi CEO.
Sanofi believes Translate will allow it “to develop additional opportunities in the fast-evolving mRNA space” and “to unlock the potential of mRNA in other strategic areas such as immunology, oncology, and rare diseases in addition to vaccines.” The two companies’ relationship goes back to June 2018, when the duo entered into an exclusive license agreement to develop mRNA vaccines. The collaboration was further expanded in 2020 to help address current and future infectious diseases. Since the collaboration commenced, two mRNA vaccine clinical trials have been initiated under the collaboration - a COVID-19 vaccine Phase 1/2 study and an mRNA seasonal influenza vaccine Phase 1 trial. Results from the COVID-19 vaccine trial are expected during the third quarter this year, while those for influenza vaccine are expected during the final quarter of the year.