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Sanofi to acquire skin microbiome drug developer biotech Origimm

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi has inked the acquisition of Origimm Biotechnology GmbH, an Austrian biotech developing therapies against virulent components of the skin microbiome causing dermatological conditions and infectious diseases. Deal terms were not disclosed and the acquisition is expected to be completed within this month.

Origimm’s lead candidate, ORI-001, is a recombinant protein-based acne vaccine for the prevention of acne vulgaris, which entered preliminary clinical studies in the third quarter of 2021. The company is reportedly also working on an immunotherapy-based treatment for acne once the condition appears.


Acne is a widespread condition that causes substantial psychological burden for adolescents, but also for adults, as more than 10% of them still experience acne in their 50s and beyond. Although its causes are not completely understood, changes in the composition of the skin microbiome are thought to be involved in its development and progression. Overgrowth of Cutibacterium acnes (formerly known as Propionibacterium acnes) is believed to be one of its major causes. Hence, eliminating it with a therapeutic or preventing its growth with a vaccine may be a promising approach to deal with it. Many microbiome drug developers are focusing on this same target, using different approaches, for the development of treatments against acne, and they are being notably successful in attracting big pharma. For instance, in January this year Eligo Bioscience and GlaxoSmithKline signed an agreement potentially worth up to €200M involving the former’s acne treatment candidate based on engineered bacteriophages against C. acnes.


Origimm’s operation supports Sanofi’s strategic vaccine pipeline development (leveraging its next-generation mRNA platform expected to enter clinical phase in 2023) and also further endorses microbiome drug development technologies as this is the second acquisition in this field by biopharmaceutical leaders in less two months. Just some weeks ago, BioNTech announced that it had completed the acquisition of Austrian bacteriophages company PhagoMed GmbH.

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