Science

Sanofi partners with Baidu to develop mRNA-based vaccines and therapies – Sciences et Avenir

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese internet giant Baidu Inc announced on Monday that it has granted a license to Sanofi SA for the use of its messenger RNA (mRNA) sequencing algorithm that will be used by the French group for the development of vaccines and products. therapeutic.

Baidu, which signs its first commercial agreement with a major pharmaceutical company, will receive milestone payments when a candidate mRNA-based treatment or vaccine discovered by Sanofi using the algorithm is clinically tested, said Huang Liang, a Baidu scientist and project leader.

“The fact that this agreement includes milestone payments shows that [Sanofi] has great confidence in bringing candidates developed with the Baidu algorithm to clinical trials and to the market, “the scientist told Reuters, declining to disclose the amount of the deal.

Before the pandemic, Sanofi was a world leader in the manufacture of vaccines, but the French group was supplanted by its competitors BioNTech / Pfizer and Moderna in the race to develop an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.

Sanofi finally withdrew from the race last September, preferring to focus on developing a COVID-19 vaccine through a more conventional protein-based approach, in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.

The French group said it will focus its mRNA resources for vaccine research and therapeutics for other infectious diseases.

The Baidu algorithm is designed to provide a greater number of optimized mRNA sequences, and early indications tend to show that it may be more suitable than standard algorithms for vaccine and therapeutic drug development, Huang Liang said.

(Report Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; French version Lucinda Langlands-Perry, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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