Sanofi Steps Up Vaccine Game with Origimm Acquisition

Sanofi is expanding its research into skin therapies after agreeing to acquire the Australian firm Origimm Biotechnology, which specializes in treatments for various types of skin diseases.

The takeover is part of the French biotech giant’s “Play to Win” strategy of growing its global vaccines pipeline through the acquisition of promising projects and companies. This newest deal effectively adds ORI-001, Origimm’s therapeutic vaccine candidate for acne vulgaris, to Sanofi’s roster of early stage developments. ORI-001 had already begun preliminary clinical studies in the third quarter.

Acne is a widespread condition that affects millions worldwide, causing a substantial psychological burden among those who suffer from it — teenagers and adults alike. Much of moderate to severe acne cases are attributed to Cutibacterium acnes which, to date, has yet to have a cure. There is still no satisfactory treatment available that delivers both safety and high efficacy.

“The acquisition of Origimm further broadens our vaccines R&D pipeline with a first vaccine candidate against acne, a high medical need for millions of teenagers and adults. Welcoming Origimm within Sanofi expands our area of expertise by bringing extensive know-how in the field of skin microbiome and skin immunology. We look forward to unlocking the full potential of this candidate,” said Thomas Triomphe, the executive vice president and global head of Sanofi, in a statement.

The company’s Play to Win strategy was first introduced in 2020, with key goals such as maximizing the development and distribution of Dupixent to treat type 2 inflammatory diseases, growing its vaccine pipeline, and accelerating its portfolio of potentially transformative therapies. Sanofi is targeting a 30% business operating income (BOI) margin by 2022.

At its hybrid Vaccines Investor Event today, the company reiterated its growth plans in line with “Play to Win,” noting that sustained growth for the future will come primarily from its four core franchises of meningitis, influenza, PPH3 and Boosters, and the upcoming launch of nirsevimab, a first-in-class monoclonal antibody to protect infants against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Origimm, or Origins of Immunity, is known for its work of creating products that prevent and treat disorders associated with the skin microbiome, particularly those that induce skin disease or internal infections, like those that sometimes happen when medical devices or prosthetic implants are inserted. Its lead program is immune therapy against Propionibacterium (Cutibacterium) acnes to treat acne vulgaris.

“Together with such a strong partner like Sanofi, we will strive to creating a paradigm shift in treatment of skin diseases and many other microbiome-associated disorders and infections, for which current medical solutions are inadequate,” commented Sanya Selak, Ph.D., the founder and chief executive of Origimm, in the same statement.

The deal is expected to close this month.

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