Sanofi-Aventis shortens name to Sanofi

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis yesterday shortened its name to Sanofi - seven years after Sanofi-Synthelabo acquired Franco-German group Aventis in a €54.5-billion deal.

Shareholders of Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis approved to do away with the Aventis name after finding that it was difficult to pronounce the company name in several countries including China and required to be shortened in order to be easily recognizable and pronounced.

Shareholders unanimously agreed to the change at a general shareholders meeting held yesterday in Paris, which also approved a new orange and blue logo with immediate effect.

Chris Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi-Aventis said the reason for the change was simplicity.

The move comes just a month after Sanofi-Aventis completed the acquisition of the world's third-largest biotech firm, the Cambridge- (Massachusetts) based Genzyme Corp, in a $20.1-billion deal.

Sanofi-Aventis, known for the development the world's best-selling blood thinner drug- Plavix, has come a long way since Sanofi started as a subsidiary of French petrochemical firm Elf Aquitaine in 1973. Elf Aquitaine was later acquired by Total of France.