Inside Sanofi’s $1B Quest To Make France “Pioneer mRNA Nation”

Sanofi’s scaled-up mRNA development efforts, backed by a $2.2 billion commitment made public in June of last year, are now coming to fruition, with around half of those funds now allocated for transforming the France-based pharma’s home territory into a “pioneer mRNA nation,” the company contends.

Sanofi recently broke ground in construction of its Evolutive Vaccine Facility, a fully digitalized production site announced in 2021 that the company says will “transform the way we make vaccines and treatments.” The facility, which will act as a fulcrum for existing facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Lyon, France, will bolster R&D efforts and production in addition to supporting a full mRNA value chain. Other parts of the funding will be doled out in the next few years to further flesh out Sanofi’s facilities and programs for mRNA advancement.

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The company’s standing in this quickly growing field has risen dramatically of late, with acquisitions of nanoparticle-developer Tidal Therapeutics and mRNA-vaccine partner Translate Bio, which worked on COVID-19 and influenza vaccines with Sanofi before the buyout. Months after the latter acquisition, Sanofi reported promising interim data from Phase I/II studies of its initial mRNA vaccine candidate. The sheer market strength of Moderna as well as Pfizer/BioNTech, however, forced Sanofi to repurpose its study data and mRNA assets for different indications such as influenza and other infectious diseases.