US – Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine global unit of Sanofi and Translate bio, is initiating the first phase clinical trials of its mRNA influenza vaccine.

This is a move that proceeds positive preclinical safety and immunogenicity data of the mRNA vaccines which will assess the safety and immunogenicity (immune response) of the monovalent (single-strain) vaccine candidate in up to 280 participants.

 The development of this vaccine has been ongoing since a joint venture collaboration between Translate Bio and Sanofi Pasteur that involved an exclusive license agreement that has been ongoing since 2018 with its recent expansion updated in 2020 to have a COVID vaccine developed.

“The first clinical trial of a seasonal mRNA flu vaccine candidate is an exciting milestone in our quest for the next generation of influenza vaccines. We’ve all witnessed the promise of mRNA technology during this pandemic and are now looking to extend that promise to select annual vaccines”, said Jean-François Toussaint, Global Head of Research and Development, Sanofi Pasteur.

“In line with our global leadership and our 70-year history of protecting people with influenza vaccines, we will always focus on developing products that demonstrate protection beyond flu, as we believe it is critical to demonstrate protecting patients from hospitalizations due to cardiovascular events and pneumonia. We look forward to sharing initial results by year-end.”

In the USA the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that on average, 5-20% of Americans get affected from the seasonal influenza virus with about 36000 related deaths being registered owing to the fact that Influenza is a rapidly transmissible infection.

According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global influenza vaccine market size was valued at $3.96 billion in 2018, and is projected to reach $6.20 billion by 2026, registering a CAGR of 5.9% from 2019 to 2026.

This is a growth that is imminent due to the constant mutation of the virus hence further modification of the virus is constantly needed to combat the season-specific viral strain, increase in government initiatives to ensure well-being of population and minimal side effects associated with influenza vaccines also contribute towards its growth.

Currently, Sanofi and a number of other multi-national drug corporations are holding a large market share of the Influenza vaccine and they include AstraZeneca Plc, Biodiem, CSL Ltd., Emergent BioSolutions, F. Hoffmann-La Riche Ltd., Gamma Vaccines Pty Ltd., GSK PLC., Merck & Co., Novartis, Pfizer and Sinovac Biotech.