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Sanofi Pasteur Influenza Vaccine Production Tops 170 Million Doses in 2006

Record production capabilities strengthen sanofi pasteur’s global leadership in the fight against seasonal influenza and place the company at the forefront of pandemic readiness

Dec 20, 2006

Lyon (France) and Swiftwater, Pa. – December 20, 2006 – Sanofi pasteur, the vaccines business of the sanofi-aventis Group (NYSE: SNY; EURONEXT: SAN), announced that it completed production of more than 170 million doses of influenza vaccine in 2006. Sanofi pasteur confirmed its leadership as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of seasonal influenza vaccine, supplying a very significant portion of the estimated global production of about 350 million doses1.

 

As the global influenza vaccine leader, sanofi pasteur has been steadily increasing its manufacturing capacity. Since 2003, capacity has increased by more than 40% in line with the company’s commitment to serve a central role in the fight against a disease that causes between three and five million cases of severe illness and between 300,000 and 500,000 estimated deaths every year around the world according to the Word Health Organization1.

 

In addition, sanofi pasteur’s leadership position in developing and producing influenza vaccines places the company at the forefront of readiness against the threat of pandemic influenza. The company is committed to producing as many doses of sanofi pasteur’s most advanced vaccine in the shortest possible timeframe, should a pandemic be declared by the world’s health authorities.

 

“By producing a record number of doses of seasonal influenza vaccine in 2006, sanofi pasteur demonstrates once again its steadfast commitment to fight a serious disease that affects the lives of millions of individuals each year and heavily weighs upon public health systems everywhere,” said Jean-François Dehecq, Chairman and CEO of sanofi-aventis. “Sanofi pasteur’s strong industrial capabilities combined with a high-priority pandemic influenza vaccine research program involving over 100 of our top scientists is enabling us to provide a meaningful contribution to global pandemic preparedness,” added Mr. Dehecq.

 

Since 1995, sales volume of sanofi pasteur’s influenza virus vaccines has more than tripled. To keep pace with the world’s growing immunization needs, sanofi pasteur has made significant capital investments in influenza vaccine production capabilities in the United States and France in order to reach current levels of more than 170 million doses.

 

In 2005, sanofi pasteur initiated a USD 160 million investment in the United States for a new influenza vaccine manufacturing facility, which is anticipated to double its U.S. production capacity. New production capacities are planned to come online for the 2008/9 influenza season. A €160 million investment, the largest capital investment to date for sanofi pasteur in France, has also been approved for a formulation and filling facility in sanofi pasteur’s Val de Reuil facility. The new state-of-the-industry facility will boost sanofi pasteur filling capabilities, thus significantly reducing time to market for the vaccine.

 

Seasonal Influenza Overview

Influenza is a highly infectious virus that spreads easily from person to person, primarily when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 5-15% of the population is affected with upper respiratory tract infections in annual influenza epidemics. Hospitalization and deaths mainly occur in high-risk groups (elderly, people with chronic conditions/illness). Although difficult to assess, these annual epidemics are thought to result in between three and five million cases of severe illness and between 300,000 and 500,000 deaths every year around the world1. Most deaths currently associated with

influenza in industrialized countries occur among the elderly over 65 years of age.

 

Pandemic Influenza Overview

Influenza is a disease caused by a highly infectious virus that spreads easily from person to person, primarily when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. An influenza pandemic is a global epidemic of an especially virulent virus, newly infectious for humans, and for which there is no preexisting immunity. This is why these pandemic strains have such potential to cause severe morbidity and mortality. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the next pandemic is likely to result in 1 to 2.3 million hospitalizations and 280,000 to 650,000 deaths in industrialized nations alone. Its impact is expected to be even more devastating in developing countries. In an attempt to minimize the impact of a pandemic, many countries are developing national and transnational plans against an eventual influenza pandemic situation.

 

For information about sanofi pasteur pandemic preparedness program, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.com/pandemicpreparedness/.

 

About sanofi-aventis

The sanofi-aventis Group is the world’s third-largest pharmaceutical company, ranking number one in Europe. Backed by a world-class R&D organization, sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, oncology, metabolic diseases, central nervous system, internal medicine, and vaccines. The sanofi-aventis Group is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY). For more information, please visit: www.sanofi-aventis.com

 

Sanofi pasteur, the vaccines business of the sanofi-aventis Group, sold more than a billion doses of vaccine in 2005, making it possible to protect more than 500 million people across the globe. The company offers the broadest range of vaccines, providing protection against 20 bacterial and viral diseases. For more information, please visit: www.sanofipasteur.com

 

Reference: 1. www.who.int/vaccine_research/diseases/ari/en/print.html

 

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include financial projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives and expectations with respect to future events, operations, products and services, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words “expect,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” “estimates,” “plans” and similar expressions. Although sanofi-aventis’ management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of sanofi-aventis, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by sanofi-aventis, including those listed under “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward- Looking Statements” in sanofi-aventis’ annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2005. Other than as required by applicable law, sanofi-aventis does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.

For further information: sanofi pasteur Pascal Barollier International Media Relations Tel: + 33-(0)4-37-37-51-41 pascal.barollier@sanofipasteur.com sanofi pasteur Len Lavenda U.S. Media Relations Tel: +1-570-839-4446 len.lavenda@sanofipasteur.com