French drugmaker Sanofi said it has dropped the development of its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. The company now aims to use the same technology for the development of vaccines for other diseases including flu.
The Covid vaccine co-developed with its British partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) had shown strong rates of neutralising antibody responses against the infectious Coronavirus disease in the Phase-II trial.
“Taking into account public health needs and given sufficient mRNA Covid-19 vaccines supply can be expected going forward, we have decided not to pursue the development of our Covid-19 mRNA candidate into a Phase 3 clinical study,” the company said in a statement.
“We will focus our mRNA resources in our newly created mRNA Center of Excellence to address future pandemics and other infectious diseases and therapeutics where there is a strong unmet need,” it added.
For the new study, Sanofi on September 14 acquired Translate Bio — a clinical-stage biotechnology company that specialises in mRNA therapies. The two teams had worked closely together since 2018 to design and develop a messenger RNA (mRNA) technology platform for vaccines.
The platform is the basis for an array of innovations to fight multiple pathogens. The newly combined R&D teams are now focused on the launch of our mRNA Center of Excellence which aims to unlock the potential of next-generation mRNA vaccines and other strategic areas such as immunology, oncology, and rare diseases, the company said.
In December, last year, the Sanofi-GSK faced a major setback after their experimental Covid-19 vaccine did not appear to work well in older adults.
However, the results of Phase-II trial, released in May this year showed 95 per cent to 100 per cent seroconversion following a second injection, while a single jab produced high neutralising antibody levels among people with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, suggesting the vaccine’s strong potential for development as a booster shot. Together with GSK, Sanofi had aimed to produce up to one billion doses in 2021.