The merger of French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Synthelabo with its Franco-German rival Aventis to create the largest pharmaceutical company in Europe has been formally approved by the companies' management and supervisory boards.
The merger of French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Synthelabo with its Franco-German rival Aventis to create the largest pharmaceutical company in Europe has been formally approved by the companies’ management and supervisory boards.
The new company Sanofi-Aventis is the world’s third largest pharmaceutical player, behind US-based Pfizer and the UK’s GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), with a market share of 5.6 per cent. Led by Sanofi chairman Jean-Francois Dehecq and employing 99 700 worldwide, the company looks forward to annual sales of ?17.5bn and an annual R&D budget of ?3bn.
Key therapeutic areas include cardiovascular medicine, thrombosis, oncology, diabetes, the central nervous system (CNS), internal medicine and vaccines. Products include anti-thrombosis treatments Lovenox and Plavix. Lovenox should benefit from the US Food and Drug Administration’s recent rejection of rival AstraZeneca’s competing drug Exanta, although sales of anti-allergy drug Allegra are slipping due to competition from generics. Other blockbusters include cancer drugs Taxotere and Eloxatin, CNS drugs Ambien and Lantus, a long-acting basal insulin for use in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Aventis initially fought the takeover bid, arguing it was better at bringing products to market than its rival. But Aventis is still hampered by a financial stake in troubled chemicals company Rhodia.
Petrochemicals firm Total, a major shareholder in Sanofi-Synthelabo, says the merger will foster synergies, such as removing duplicate offices: Aventis’ UK HQ in London has closed following a detailed review - staff will move to Sanofi’s Guildford, UK offices.