Caixin
Nov 24, 2021 04:35 AM
BUSINESS

Baidu Licenses mRNA Algorithm to Sanofi

What’s new: Chinese search engine giant Baidu Inc. licensed its algorithm for sequencing messenger RNA (mRNA) to French drugmaker Sanofi SA for use in designing vaccines and therapeutic products, Baidu said Monday.

The deal marks a milestone for Baidu in leveraging its strengths in computational biology to optimize mRNA vaccine and therapy development in real-world pharmaceutical practice beyond Covid-19, the tech giant said.

Baidu’s algorithm, developed in 2020, can improve the stability and immunogenicity of spike protein-encoding mRNA and make the process quicker with the potential to accelerate novel drug discovery, the company said.

The background: MRNA vaccines contain the virus’s genetic sequence to instruct cells to produce antigens that elicit a response from the immune system. While mRNA has proved to be an innovative technology for vaccine development, instability remains a major limitation that affects the storage, distribution, and efficacy of mRNA vaccines.

Sanofi was one of the world’s biggest vaccine makers before the pandemic, but it stopped trials of its own mRNA Covid-19 vaccine in September because of the dominant position seized by BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna with their mRNA shots.

Sanofi said at the time it would pursue the technology for a potential vaccine against influenza and other diseases.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.

Contact reporter Denise Jia (huijuanjia@caixin.com) and editor Bob Simison (hello@caixin.com)

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