Sanofi-Aventis may pursue generic, OTC businesses

NEW YORK Pfizer, Merck & Co. and Roche have made big mega-acquisitions. Eli Lilly has pumped money into research and development. Sanofi-Aventis, however, has pursued a more modest means of boosting its drug business and fending off generic competition, according to published reports.

Bloomberg quoted Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher as saying that the company would pursue the same strategy this year that it did in 2009, acquiring several smaller companies, such as its $1.9 billion acquisition of Chattem, which it completed this week.

Another way the company has found to retain profits in the face of generic competition is to make generics itself, particularly in emerging economies. In April 2009, it bought Mexican manufacturer Laboratorios Kendrick and Brazil’s Medley, followed in July by Czech drug maker Zentiva.

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