Sanofi, Chinese tech giant Baidu ink pact for mRNA algorithm
New Delhi: Drug maker Sanofi and Baidu, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) company have entered into an agreement to integrate Baidu's messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) design optimization platform, LinearDesign, into Sanofi's product design pipeline.
Under the agreement, Sanofi will leverage the LinearDesign platform to contribute to the optimization of mRNA sequences for human therapeutic and preventive uses. This agreement marks a milestone for Baidu to use its strengths in computational biology to optimize mRNA vaccine and therapy designs in real-world pharmaceutical practice beyond Covid-19.
"The emerging mRNA technology has rapidly advanced the science of vaccine and drug development for infectious diseases like COVID-19," said Tian Wu, Baidu Corporate Vice President. "We have already seen that combining mRNA with computational biology tools makes the process quicker and more effective and has the potential to further transform drug discovery. We are honored to partner with Sanofi, one of the world's leading biopharmaceutical companies, to bring life-saving mRNA therapies and vaccines to the global healthcare community."
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. LinearDesign is a novel algorithm developed by Baidu researchers in 2020 specifically for mRNA sequence design. Experiments both in vitro and in vivo have demonstrated the effectiveness of LinearDesign in improving the stability and immunogenicity of Spike protein-encoding mRNA.
LinearDesign was inspired by two algorithms previously developed by Baidu and its collaborators: LinearFold, the world's fastest algorithm for RNA secondary structure prediction, and LinearPartition, the world's fastest base pairing probability prediction algorithm. The LinearDesign program is part of Baidu's ongoing effort to develop innovative computational biology technology aiming to accelerate novel drug discovery.