Sanofi looks to sell EU research sites to Covance

By Claire Videau

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Covance Sanofi-aventis Pharmaceutical industry

Sanofi Aventis intends to sell two of its European research facilities to US-based contract research organisation (CRO) Covance.

Restructuring of Sanofi’s network of research sites put the future of the facilities in Porcheville, France and Alnwick, UK in doubt. However, a deal which would transfer the sites and their staff to Covance is now being worked towards.

In a statement issued to Outsourcing-Pharma Covance said: “Sanofi-aventis and Covance have signed a non-binding memorandum regarding the intent to transfer two sanofi-aventis research facilities located in Porcheville and Alnwick to Covance​”

The statement comes a year after the French drug manufacturer announced its intention to sell some of its research sites. It is reported that Covance and Sanofi initiated talks in late 2009.

Assuming definitive agreements are concluded​the deal will ensure “approximately 300 sanofi-aventis employees from both sites would be transferred to Covance​”, said the contract research organisation (CRO).

It is currently unclear if Covance will provide services to Sanofi from the sites. Sanofi did not respond to Outsourcing-Pharma’s request for further information in time for publication.

Site capabilities

Porcheville and Alnwick are both dedicated in preclinical trials but have different areas of expertise. The French site first opened its doors in 1976. It focuses primarily on chemistry and toxicology.

The UK site, which was established in 1982, specialises in drug safety assessment and is a major input into the local economy, employing 150 people.

Roland Jurke, director of the Alnwick site, told the Northumberland Gazette​: “We hope that things go well and we will have a good future. Not only a good one but one in which we can grow and develop the site​.”

The transfer is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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