Sanofi has acquired biotech company Tidal Therapeutics to add an advanced mRNA-based research platform with applications in various disease areas to its portfolio in a deal totalling approximately $470m.
According to the transaction, Tidal Therapeutics will get an upfront payment of $160m and is eligible for up to $310m on achieving certain milestones.
The mRNA-based approach for in vivo reprogramming of immune cells will aid in expanding Sanofi’s research capabilities in immuno-oncology and inflammatory diseases, as well as its extended applicability in other disease areas.
Sanofi Research global head and chief scientific officer Frank Nestle said: “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.
“We believe that the underlying mRNA targeting platform will create disruptive therapeutic approaches across a variety of oncology and autoimmune conditions.”
Based on proprietary nanoparticles that deliver mRNA (messages) to reprogram immune cells in the body, Tidal Therapeutics’ technology provides mRNA cargos selectively to certain types of cells in the body, with initial applications targeting special types of immune cells.
The in vivo approach can potentially offer similar efficacy to existing ex vivo (outside the body) approaches where immune cells are genetically modified to boost their therapeutic properties, thereby possibly enhancing safety, outpatient dosing and repeat dosing.
At present, Tidal Therapeutics is progressing pre-clinical programmes, including in vivo reprogramming of T cells or other immune cell types for cancer indications.
Tidal Therapeutics president and CEO Ulrik Nielsen said: “Teaming up with Sanofi gives us the opportunity to further develop our unique platform and rapidly apply it to ultimately help patients across a range of diseases.”
On another note, Sanofi completed its previously announced acquisition of Kymab Group, adding KY1005 to its pipeline, a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting the key immune system regulator OX40L.
In January, the company signed the agreement to acquire Kymab for an upfront payment of about $1.1bn in cash.