Baidu, an AI company with internet foundation, has agreed to integrate its messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) design optimisation platform LinearDesign, into biopharmaceutical company Sanofi's product design pipeline.
This licensing deal will see Sanofi leverage the LinearDesign platform that will lead to the optimisation of mRNA sequences for human therapeutic and preventive uses.
Furthermore, this agreement represents a milestone for Baidu to leverage its strengths in computational biology in order to optimise mRNA vaccine and therapy designs in the actual pharmaceutical field beyond Covid-19.
Baidu corporate vice president Tian Wu said: “The emerging mRNA technology has rapidly advanced the science of vaccine and drug development for infectious diseases like Covid-19.
“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 honoured 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.”
Although mRNA has indicated to be an new technology for vaccine development, there still remains instability as a major limitation impacting the storage, distribution, and efficacy of mRNA vaccines.
Developed by Baidu researchers in 2020, LinearDesign is an algorithm intended particularly for mRNA sequence design.
Experiments both in vitro and in vivo have shown the effectiveness of LinearDesign in bolstering the stability and immunogenicity of Spike protein-encoding mRNA.
LinearDesign has drawn its inspiration from two algorithms earlier developed by Baidu and its collaborators: LinearFold, which is an algorithm for RNA secondary structure prediction, and LinearPartition, a base pairing probability prediction algorithm.