Sanofi places bet on mRNA vaccines with investment

The French drugmaker Sanofi says it plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually to research mRNA vaccines after some COVID-19 vaccines have successfully utilized the technology.

The company announced Tuesday that it will direct 400 million euros, or $477 million, every year to a Center of Excellence designed to speed up the research and development of mRNA vaccines.

The effort would aim to expand usage of mRNA vaccine technology beyond COVID-19 shots “to routine use in diseases with high unmet need.” The drugmaker predicts it will have at least six next-generation candidate vaccines by 2025.

“While mRNA won’t be the solution for every infectious disease, its translation into routine prevention could have immense impact for many unmet public health needs,” Thomas Triomphe, the global head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a release.

Why this matters: As one of the largest vaccine manufacturers worldwide, Sanofi’s investment in mRNA vaccine research and development signals how mRNA technology could transform the vaccine industry.

Two of the three vaccines authorized in the U.S. — the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines — use mRNA technology and are considered to be effective against COVID-19 and the current variants.