France's pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, which has lagged behind rivals in developing new-generation mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, on Tuesday said it has purchased a US firm specialising in the technology, reports FRANCE 24.
Sanofi will buy Translate Bio, with which it has been working to develop an mRNA Covid jab, for $3.2 billion (2.7 billion euros), the company said in a statement.
Sanofi was left trailing in the race to break out a Covid-19 vaccine in 2020, as rivals Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna used pioneering mRNA technology to develop jabs in record time.
In late June, it said it would invest 2 billion euros in the technology by setting up a "centre of excellence" employing 400 people at its laboratories in the US city of Cambridge and Marcy-L'Etoile near the French city of Lyon.
Messenger RNA technology works by providing human cells with the genetic instructions to make a surface protein of the coronavirus, which trains the immune system to recognise the real virus.
Making a traditional vaccine is a longer process that normally involves developing a weakened form of a pathogen.
Sanofi, which initially went the traditional route, is still racing to make up ground in the colossal market for Covid jabs.
The European Medicines Agency only started a "rolling review" of Sanofi's coronavirus jab, developed with British firm GSK, on July 20th.