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Sanofi-aventis to acquire Fovea Pharmaceuticals

Sanofi-aventis announced recently that it has signed a binding agreement for the acquisition of Fovea Pharmaceuticals SA (‘Fovea‘), a privately held French research and development biopharmaceutical company, focused on ocular diseases.

Fovea has a portfolio of three clinical compounds, a unique technology platform and several discovery programmes dedicated to back-of-the-eye diseases.

Created in 2005, Fovea has built a pipeline comprising three products in clinical development: FOV 1101, an eye drop, fixed-dose combination of prednisolone and cyclosporine, currently in Phase II for the treatment of persistent allergic conjunctivitis; FOV 2302, an intravitreal formulation of a plasma kallikrein inhibitor, in Phase I for the treatment of retinal-vein-occlusion-induced macular edema; and FOV 2304, a potent antagonist of bradykinin B1 receptors, active by eye drop, scheduled to enter in Phase I by November 2009 for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema.

‘Fovea is a unique opportunity to lay the foundation stone of an ophthalmology franchise,’ declared Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of sanofi-aventis. ‘The acquisition of Fovea will create new strategic positions for sanofi-aventis in the very promising and dynamically growing ophthalmic area driven by unmet medical needs and aging population. This acquisition furthers our strategy of accessing high-growth segments of the healthcare market, reducing our risk profile while focusing on patient needs.’

In addition, Fovea has scientific capabilities designed around a proprietary discovery platform – dedicated to ophthalmology and, especially, retinal diseases – and several ongoing research and development programs in glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration.

Fovea is built upon a close relationship with the Vision Institute, created and chaired by Professor Jose A. Sahel, at the National Eye Hospital in Paris, which gathers several research teams from University Pierre and Marie Curie, INSERM, CNRS, a Centre for Clinical Investigation fully dedicated to ophthalmology and the National Reference Center for Genetic Retinal Disease.

‘We are extremely pleased to join sanofi-aventis as it will provide Fovea with the necessary resources and expertise needed to continue to aggressively grow our franchise and demonstrate the efficacy of our products through regulatory clinical development,’ said Bernard Gilly, President and Chief Executive Officer of Fovea Pharmaceuticals. ‘With the continued support of our founder Professor Jose A Sahel, our team is highly motivated and we are confident that we will successfully contribute to bringing innovative treatments to patients at risk of losing sight.’

Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi has agreed to purchase Fovea for a total enterprise value of up to €370 million, including an immediate up-front payment and subsequent milestone payments related to the three clinical compounds.

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