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Sanofi pays $160m upfront to acquire Tidal Therapeutics

French pharma company's acquisition of pre-clinical stage biotech includes mRNA-based research platform

French pharma company Sanofi has announced its acquisition of pre-clinical stage biotech company Tidal Therapeutics, which is focused on mRNA-based research.

Tidal’s mRNA-based research platform has potential in a number of disease areas – including oncology and immunology – according to Sanofi.

Sanofi has paid $160m upfront to acquire Tidal, with up to $310m contingent on the achievement of future milestones. Following the acquisition, Sanofi will gain access to Tidal’s novel mRNA-based approach to in vivo reprogramming of immune cells.

This technology is based on proprietary nanoparticles that deliver mRNA to reprogramme immune cells inside the body, with mRNA cargos selectively delivered to designated cell types in the body.

In a statement, Sanofi said the initial applications are targeting specific types of immune cells,

The global pharma company added that Tidal’s approach is designed to provide ‘similar’ efficacy to current ex vivo approaches, where immune cells are genetically modified to boost their therapeutic properties – such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-expressing T-cells.

Tidal’s platform has the potential for improved safety, outpatient dosing and repeat dosing compared to other approaches said Sanofi.

“We anticipate that this next generation, off-the-shelf approach has the potential to bring CAR-T cell therapy to a much broader patient population,” said Frank Nestle, global head of research and chief scientific officer at Sanofi.

“We believe that the underlying mRNA targeting platform will create disruptive therapeutic approaches across a variety of oncology and autoimmune conditions,” he added.

Tidal Therapeutics is based at LabCentral in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the US. It received seed funding from Mission BioCapital, which was joined by RA Capital, New Enterprise Associates, the Myeloma Investment Fund, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation’s venture philanthropy, MRL Ventures and AbbVie Ventures.

The company is currently conducting ongoing pre-clinical programmes, including in vivo reprogramming of T cells or other types of immune cells for cancer indications.

mRNA-based therapy approaches have been in the spotlight over the past year, with a number of major COVID-19 vaccine makers using mRNA techology to develop their candidates.

This includes Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, whose mRNA-based vaccines are designed to teach the body’s own cells how to create a protein, or part of the protein, that triggers an immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Its not just Sanofi and Tidal who are looking beyond COVID-19 to apply mRNA-based technology to other disease areas – Moderna is testing an mRNA-based vaccine candidate in combination with Merck & Co’s Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in patients with high-risk melanoma and other cancer types.

BioNTech also has a number of mRNA-based candidates in development for the treatment of a number of cancer types, including advanced melanoma, prostate cancer and triple negative breast cancer.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

12th April 2021

From: Research, Sales

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