France’s Sanofi halts work on mRNA Covid vaccine

French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi said Tuesday it was abandoning work on an mRNA vaccine against Covid-19 despite positive test findings as it trails behind rivals on delivering a coronavirus shot.

The business said it will focus instead on another type of jab it is developing with British medicine producer GlaxoSmithKline and which is in the last stages of human studies.

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Sanofi’s mRNA vaccination the ground-breaking technology utilized by rivals Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna — achieved encouraging results in phases one and two of clinical studies, the business said.

But Sanofi said it will not make it through the third and final phase, citing that it would arrive too late to market with 12 billion Covid dosages due to be produced by the end of the year.

Instead, the company will leverage mRNA technology for vaccinations against other infections, including the flu.

“The need is not to manufacture fresh Covid-19 mRNA vaccines, but to equip France and Europe with an arsenal of messenger RNA vaccines for the next pandemic, for new pathologies,” Sanofi’s vice-president for vaccines, Thomas Triomphe, told AFP.

“There is no public health need for another messenger RNA vaccine” Covid-19, he noted.

Results from phase three trials of the other vaccine developed with GlaxoSmithKline are expected before the end of 2021.

The corporations are combining a Sanofi-developed antigen, which stimulates the development of germ-killing antibodies, with GSK’s adjuvant technology, a material that bolsters the immune response induced by vaccination.

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