Sanofi boosting stake in Regeneron

Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:47pm EST
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By Ransdell Pierson

(Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi SA (SASY.PA: Quote) is buying more shares in U.S. biotech company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc (REGN.O: Quote), its partner in the development of potential blockbuster treatments for cholesterol and rheumatoid arthritis.

Sanofi's plans, disclosed by the companies in separate statements on Monday, boosted both companies' shares.

Sanofi controls 16.7 percent of Regeneron, or 15.82 million shares, according to Reuters data. Sanofi said in an email that it has the right to raise the stake to as much as 30 percent under its decade-long partnership with Regeneron.

"We are very happy with the relationship with Regeneron, but we needed this technical filing to get freedom to operate," the company said. Sanofi disclosed its plans to buy Regeron shares on the open market in a filing with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Peter Dworkin, a spokesman for Regeneron, said that under terms of their partnership, Sanofi is not allowed to increase its stake beyond 30 percent until five years after the planned 2017 conclusion of their collaboration.

"The 30 percent limit they can acquire without our permission is in force and will remain in force" until 2022, Dworkin said.

Under the partnership, Sanofi and Regeneron have agreed to equally split U.S. profits from medicines they develop together.

Regeneron Chief Executive Leonard Schleifer has said his company enjoys "unprecedented" favorable financial terms from the partnership because Sanofi funds 100 percent of expenses to develop their drugs.   Continued...