Sanofi stops development of its messenger RNA vaccine against Covid-19

The laboratory continues the one based on a recombinant protein and relies on messenger RNA for other viruses, such as seasonal influenza.

The Sanofi laboratory will not go to phase 3 of trials for its messenger RNA vaccine against Covid-19 – the last step before marketing -, while continuing the development of its other vaccine against the virus, has it indicated Tuesday. Despite positive intermediate results for phase 1-2 of the trial of its messenger RNA vaccine, Sanofi believes that it would arrive too late on the market, while 12 billion doses of anti-Covid vaccines will have been produced in the total by the end of the year.

The results of phase 3 on its other vaccine, based on a recombinant protein and developed with the British GSK, are still expected before the end of 2021.

SEE ALSO – Abandonment of the Sanofi messenger RNA vaccine project: “It’s a blow to the world”, criticizes Gilbert Deray

Initial data from the messenger RNA assay are positive

The initial data of the trial conducted on the messenger RNA technology are however positive: they show a seroconversion, that is to say the production of antibodies, in 91% to 100% of the participants, two weeks later. the second injection, Sanofi said in a statement released Tuesday. These results hold true for the three assays that were tested. In addition, no side effects were observed and the safety profile is comparable to that of other Covid-19 RNA vaccines, such as those developed by the German-American tandem Pfizer-BioNTech and by the American biotech Moderna.

With this technology, the laboratory wanted to assess the ability to elicit an immune response. “Now this one is strongThomas Triomphe, vice-president of the vaccines branch of Sanofi, commented to AFP. Sanofi had been working since March 2020 with Translate Bio on this vaccine, and even bought this American biotech at the beginning of August for some 2.7 billion euros.

Nevertheless, “the need is not to create new Covid-19 RNA vaccines, but to equip France and Europe with an arsenal of messenger RNA vaccines for a next pandemic, for new pathologies», Adds Thomas Triomphe. Therefore, Sanofi will not develop phase 3 for this vaccine, because “there is no public health need for another messenger RNA vaccineHe continues.

Developing the potential of RNA for other viruses

Sanofi, on the other hand, says it wants to develop vaccines with this technology against other viruses, without side effects and with fewer constraints in terms of storage temperature. The group has already launched initial trials for a monovalent vaccine – with a single strain of virus – against seasonal influenza. He said Tuesday he wanted to launch clinical trials against influenza next year, this time with a quadrivalent vaccine.

Sanofi recently stepped up its actions on RNA. In addition to the takeover of Translate Bio, he announced in June that he would spend at least two billion euros by 2025 in research on new RNA vaccines, investments that should continue beyond of this period. “Our goal is to unleash the potential of messenger RNA in other strategic areas, such as immunology, oncology“, That is to say the treatment of cancers,”and rare diseases, in addition to vaccinesPaul Hudson, CEO of Sanofi, emphasized a few weeks ago.

Rapid progress in the development of RNA vaccines should indeed “allow the pharmaceutical industry to continue breaking through barriers, and the oncology market is most likely to benefit».

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