Sanofi Unit Buying VaxDesign

PARIS (AP) -- The vaccines division of French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA said Monday it will spend up to $60 million to buy the privately held U.S. biotechnology company VaxDesign.

Sanofi Pasteur will pay $55 million at the deal's closing and then an additional $5 million after a particular development stage is reached. The deal is expected to close at the end of the year.

VaxDesign, which is based in Orlando, Fla., has designed technology that helps predict human immune responses using blood samples. Sanofi Pasteur said in a statement this will help it decide which vaccine candidates to move forward with.

The VaxDesign system "provides earlier selection of the optimal product candidate as opposed to using animal models," the company said.

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