French biopharmaceutical company Sanofi has acquired Tidal Therapeutics, a privately owned, pre-clinical stage biotech company, for a total consideration of $470m.

The total consideration includes an upfront payment of $160m and additional payments of up to $310m based on achievement of certain milestones.

Tidal Therapeutics is focused on developing nanoparticles that deliver mRNA to reprogram immune cells inside the body with applications in oncology and immune diseases.

With the acquisition, Sanofi is expected to benefit from a new technology platform that expands its research capabilities in both immuno-oncology and inflammatory diseases.

Sanofi research global head and chief scientific officer Frank Nestle said: “We anticipate that this next generation, off-the-shelf approach has the potential to bring CAR-T cell therapy to a much broader patient population.

“We believe that the underlying mRNA targeting platform will create disruptive therapeutic approaches across a variety of oncology and autoimmune conditions.”

Tidal Therapeutics leverages mRNA-based approach to in-vivo reprogramming of immune cells, where unique nanoparticles deliver mRNA to reprogram immune cells inside the body.

The approach is designed to selectively deliver mRNA cargos to specific types of cells in the body and is initially intended for targeting specific types of immune cells.

Tidal Therapeutics said that the in-vivo approach would offer similar efficacy to current ex-vivo approaches where immune cells are genetically modified to enhance their therapeutic properties.

Therapeutic properties include chimeric antigen receptor CAR-expressing T-cells, with the potential for improved safety, outpatient dosing, and repeat dosing.

Tidal Therapeutics is currently conducting pre-clinical programs including in vivo re-programming of T cells or other types of immune cells for cancer indications.

Tidal Therapeutics president and CEO Ulrik Nielsen said: “Teaming up with Sanofi gives us the opportunity to further develop our unique platform and rapidly apply it to ultimately help patients across a range of diseases.”

In August last year, the French pharmaceutical firm has agreed to acquire late-stage biopharmaceutical company Principia Biopharma, for a total of around $3.68bn.