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Baidu in partnership with Sanofi to use its algorithm in mRNA vaccine, therapy development

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BEIJING, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Chinese tech big Baidu Inc (9888.HK) mentioned on Monday it has licensed its algorithm for messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence to Sanofi SA for use in designing vaccine and therapeutic merchandise, getting into its first such industrial deal with a serious international drugmaker.

Sanofi (SASY.PA) had been one of many world’s greatest vaccine makers earlier than the pandemic, however the French agency was overwhelmed by rivals BioNTech /Pfizer (PFE.N) and Moderna (MRNA.O) in growing mRNA pictures in opposition to COVID-19. learn extra

Sanofi stopped trials of its personal mRNA COVID-19 shot in September, and is as an alternative specializing in efforts with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) to carry one other COVID-19 vaccine candidate to market based mostly on the extra typical protein-based strategy.

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The French group said it could focus its mRNA assets on different infectious ailments and therapeutics with robust unmet want.

Baidu will obtain milestone funds when any mRNA-based therapy or vaccine candidate found by Sanofi utilizing its algorithm enters medical trials, mentioned Huang Liang, a Baidu scientist main the challenge.

“The fact that this agreement includes milestone payments shows that [Sanofi] has great confidence in bringing candidates developed with Baidu algorithm into clinical trials and to the market,” Huang instructed Reuters. He declined to disclose the dimensions of the deal.

An mRNA-based vaccine accommodates mRNA sequence which instructs human cells to produce proteins that may spur the immune system into motion.

Baidu’s algorithm is designed to ship a bigger variety of optimised mRNA sequences and there are early indicators that it could possibly be extra appropriate than customary algorithms in vaccine and therapeutic drug development, Huang mentioned.

Specifically relating to COVID-19 vaccine candidates, these containing mRNA sequences generated by Baidu’s algorithm have been extra secure and appeared to require a smaller dosage than a baseline shot based mostly on a normal algorithm, in accordance to lab studies and animal tests, which have not gone via peer-review.

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Reporting by Roxanne Liu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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People walk near a Baidu logo at the company headquarters in Beijing, China April 23, 2021. REUTERS/Florence Lo

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