Bloomberg News

Sanofi Buys Rights to Vivalis Antibody Technology (Update2)

June 08, 2010

Sanofi-Aventis SA (SAN), France’s biggest drugmaker, agreed to pay vaccine maker Vivalis SA an initial 3 million euros ($3.59 million) for technology to discover and develop monoclonal antibodies designed to fight infections.

Sanofi’s Pasteur vaccine unit may also make milestone payments of as much as 35 million euros for each infectious disease targeted, Paris-based Sanofi said today in an e-mailed statement. Vivalis, which is based in Nantes in western France, will be paid royalties on resulting products, said Sanofi, which acquired worldwide rights.

Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher is seeking licensing deals and acquisitions to replace revenue the company is losing as its medicines face competition from lower-priced generic drugs. Antibodies are substances produced by a person’s immune system to help the body fight infections. Drugmakers are trying to create their own versions to treat illnesses ranging from cancer to rheumatoid arthritis.

“Passive immunization can be a powerful treatment option against infectious diseases in sometimes life-threatening situations,” Michel de Wilde, who heads research and development at Sanofi Pasteur, said in the statement.

Vivalis shares jumped 43 cents, or 5.1 percent, to close at 8.82 euros in Paris trading, the biggest advance since Aug. 24. The company has a market value of 130.5 million euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Paris at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net


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