RICHMOND, England, February 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmaprojects, the leading pharmaceutical R&D database, reports that an examination of the pipelines of the two French merger candidates Sanofi-Synthelabo and Aventis show that the companies have a good therapeutic fit. This would suggest that a merged company would have considerable synergies in its pipeline and that the merger would progress fairly smoothly past the regulatory authorities. Indeed, the French government is said to have agreed in principle to the merger, despite the fact that Sanofi's hostile bid has been initially rejected by Aventis.
Aventis would appear to have products in development in a wider selection of therapeutic areas than Sanofi-Synthelabo (a graph showing the Comparison of Aventis and Sanofi-Synthelabo pipelines by therapeutic area is available from http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/ in the Today's News section). It also has several potential blockbusters in its pipeline, including ciclenoside, an inhaled corticosteroid developed for chronic pulmonary disease, for which registration filings have been made in Australia, Canada and Europe; and insulin glulisine, a fast-acting insulin analogue which is awaiting approval in the EU and the US. Mainly due to the contribution of its subsidiary, Aventis Pasteur, which develops human vaccines, Aventis has more anti-infectives in development than Sanofi-Synthelabo. However, the two companies are equally matched in the number of alimentary/metabolic, anticancer and cardiovascular drugs under development.
Neurology is an area which Sanofi-Synthelabo is strong and it too has a number of drugs which could achieve blockbuster status. Launch of rimonabant, a selective CB1 cannabinoid antagonist, which is under development for the treatment of obesity, alcohol dependence and for smoking cessation, is expected in 2005. It has high novelty as it is the first drug with this pharmacology to reach late-stage clinical development and may compete with the likes of GlaxoSmithKline's Wellbutrin SR, which is developed for this indication but is currently facing court cases over its patent protection.
Research into biotechnology is one area in which Sanofi-Synthelabo clearly has yet to thoroughly explore. Due to its subsidiaries Aventis Pasteur and Aventis Gencell, which develop recombinant vaccines and gene therapy products, respectively, Aventis has a history of research and development in this area. According to Pharmaprojects' Biotech Editor, Jan Beal, "The recombinant vaccine franchise continues to be a money-making venture, as Aventis Pasteur has proved in the past. However, although Aventis Gencell is one of the acknowledged leaders in the gene therapy sector, no gene therapy has yet reached the market." With the increased research and development budget that Sanofi-Synthelabo could offer Aventis, it is possible that the potential of gene therapy could be maximized.
Aventis' leading drugs include the antiallergic, Allegra; the cancer treatment, Taxotere; and the anticoagulant, Lovenox. Sanofi-Synthelabo's best-sellers include the stroke therapy, Plavix; the sleeping pill, Ambien; and the anticancer Eloxatin. As many of the two companies' blockbusters face patent expiry in the next few years, a merger would reduce the market impact of this.
Both Aventis and Sanofi-Synthelabo are themselves the result of previous mergers. Aventis was formed in 1999 from the merger of the French life science companies Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and Pasteur-Merieux (now Aventis Pasteur), and the German company Hoechst Marion Roussel. Sanofi-Synthelabo also formed in 1999 through the merger of the French healthcare companies, Sanofi and Synthelabo.
Pharmaprojects, the leading database tracking pharmaceutical development from early preclinical study through to launch or discontinuation, has 24 years' experience as an information provider to the healthcare industry. Pharmaprojects uses a fully searchable application that allows you to pinpoint the specific information you are looking for, whether it be comprehensive drug profiles, a competitor's pipeline or licensing opportunities. Pharmaprojects is available monthly on the Web and via CD-ROM format; the data is also accessible weekly via online hosts PJB Publications, Dialog and Datastar, Ovid Technologies and STN International.