Sanofi Pasteur helps you guard against getting sick in the first place. The company is the US unit of Sanofi Pasteur SA, the vaccines division of French drugmaker Sanofi. It researches, makes, and markets about 20 vaccines that protect against such bacterial and viral diseases as diphtheria, hepatitis, polio, and meningitis. Some of Sanofi Pasteur's top sellers are Fluzone influenza vaccines, childhood combination vaccines, and adult booster shots. It also makes travelers' vaccines that keep globetrotters safe from typhoid, cholera, yellow fever, and the like.
While it might seem a bit dark to be betting on a worst-case scenario, Sanofi Pasteur is the largest flu vaccine maker in the world and it's working on improving flu vaccines to prepare for a potential influenza pandemic. The company completed construction of a new $150 million flu vaccine manufacturing plant in Pennsylvania in 2009 to double its US production capacity, which will help meet rising global demand for government pandemic stockpiles.
The company also benefits from demands for traditional and seasonal vaccines. Sanofi Pasteur supplies about 40% of seasonal vaccines in the US, and these sales were boosted following FDA approval of its H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine ahead of the 2009-2010 winter flu season. In 2011 Sanofi Pasteur launched Fluzone ID, the first intradermal flu shot (injected with a smaller needle than used in the traditional intramuscular vaccines) that the company hopes will boost US flu vaccination levels even higher. It also introduced Fluzone High-Dose in 2009 for elderly patients with a weaker immune response.
In addition to its influenza research, Sanofi Pasteur has about 20 vaccines in its R&D pipeline, including improvements to its existing vaccines, as well as new vaccines for some forms of cancer, dengue fever, HIV, and rabies. In the US, the company received a shot in the arm from the FDA approval of 5-in-1 pediatric combination vaccine Pentacel in 2008, and it has additional combination vaccine candidates in late stages of development.
In 2010, the company branched out into exploration of the human immune system by acquiring VaxDesign, a biotechnology company that develops and manufactures in vitro models of the immune system. The deal, worth $60 million, gave Sanofi Pasteur VaxDesign's models that can predict the immune response to vaccine candidates to help the company develop more effective vaccines with less time and money spent on research.
On the global front, parent Sanofi Pasteur SA operates in about 150 countries, and more than 500 million people around the world receive its vaccines each year. The international vaccines organization includes Sanofi Pasteur MSD, which markets products in Europe including Merk's cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil.
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