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Sanofi To Buy Vaccine Maker Acambis

Deal would add Acambis' key smallpox vaccine ACAM2000 to the existing portfolio of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business of Sanofi-Aventis.

PARIS (AP) -- Sanofi-Aventis SA said its planned 276 million pound ($551 million) acquisition of Acambis PLC will bolster its leading position in the vaccine market and strengthen its development pipeline.

The deal, expected to close by the end of September, would add Acambis' key smallpox vaccine ACAM2000 to the existing portfolio of Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines business of Sanofi-Aventis.

In April, Acambis won a $425 million, 10-year contract to provide the U.S. government with its ACAM2000 vaccine, which is the mainstay of the U.S.'s stockpile against smallpox.

The U.S. has been worried that smallpox might resurface as a result of bioterrorism.

Sanofi Pasteur delivered more 1.6 billion doses of vaccine last year and has the widest range of vaccines in the industry, the company said. It reported sales of 2.8 billion euros in 2007, up 15 percent from a year earlier

"Integration of Acambis and Sanofi Pasteur will further strengthen Sanofi Pasteur's position as a vaccine leader with the industry's broadest range of existing vaccines and vaccines in development," the company said in a statement.

The deal will also beef up Sanofi Pasteur's vaccine pipeline, with the addition of Acambis' experimental vaccines targeted at Dengue fever and the West Nile virus. Acambis also has a vaccine in development aimed at preventing Clostridium difficile, which Sanofi said was the most common cause of hospital-acquired infection in the developed world.

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