Sanofi-Aventis expands Regeneron research deal to $1 billion

French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis is expanding and extending its existing global collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and pay it an additional $1 billion over eight years for discovering new drugs.

Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said yesterday that that they have entered into agreements to expand and extend their existing global collaboration to discover, develop, and commercialise fully-human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.

Sanofi will increase its annual funding commitment from $100 million to $160 million beginning in 2010, and the research funding will now extend through 2017.

Both the pharmaceutical companies aim to advance an average of four to five antibodies into clinical development each year. In addition to its VelocImmune technology, Regeneron will contribute to the collaboration its next generation technologies related to antibody generation.

Sanofi holds nearly 20 per cent stake in New York City-based Regeneron, but cannot increase its stake to more than 30 per cent under a standstill agreement.

Sanofi said that it has an option to extend the discovery program for up to an additional three years for further antibody development and preclinical activities.