Sanofi Pasteur's Investigational H5N1 Influenza Vaccine Achieves High Immune Response at low Dosage



    Clinical Study Demonstrates Breakthrough Dose-Sparing Formulation That
    Increases Stockpile Capacities and Expands Potential Production
    Capacities to Billions of Doses in a Pandemic Situation

    LYON, France, Sept. 18 /CNW/ - Sanofi pasteur, the vaccines division of
sanofi-aventis Group, today announced data showing that its new
investigational H5N1 pandemic influenza vaccine containing a proprietary
adjuvant achieved a high immune response at the lowest dose of H5N1 antigen
reported to date.
    The vaccine containing only 1.9 micrograms of antigen generated a high
level of seroprotective immune response in over 70 percent of the participants
in a clinical trial and, in the same clinical trial, vaccine containing 3.75
micrograms of antigen generated a high level of  seroprotective immune
response in over 80 percent of the participants.
    Once fully developed, this vaccine should give sanofi pasteur the
potential to provide billions of doses in a pandemic situation and greatly
increases its ability to produce vaccines for stockpiling in advance of a
pandemic. This would be a significant achievement for public health and a
breakthrough in research and development of pre-pandemic and pandemic vaccines
that is fully in line with sanofi pasteur's early commitment to bring answers
to the global threat posed by pandemic influenza.
    Results are based on analysis of a clinical trial conducted in Belgium.
The trial involved 266 healthy adults, 18 to 40 years of age. The vaccine
tested was produced from inactivated H5N1 virus and contains a new,
proprietary adjuvant aimed at stimulating the immune system to increase the
response to the vaccine. Trial participants received two doses of each
formulation. Four levels of antigen dose were tested, with 1.9 micrograms
being the lowest dose.
    Preliminary data also show good cross-reactivity to a more recently
circulating H5N1 strain. Further assessment of the ability of this vaccine to
provide cross-protection to variants of the H5N1 strains is ongoing.
    Sanofi pasteur has committed, in the event of a pandemic being declared
by the World Health Organization (WHO), to producing the largest possible
number of doses of its most advanced pandemic influenza vaccine in the
shortest possible time. In order to increase its capacity, sanofi pasteur
initiated clinical trials with a novel adjuvant aimed at dramatically reducing
the amount of antigen needed to elicit a protective immune response to the
H5N1 strain currently identified by global health authorities and experts as a
potential source for the next pandemic.
    According to the WHO, the next influenza pandemic could result in
1 million 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.
    With production of 170 million doses of influenza vaccine in 2006, sanofi
pasteur confirmed its leadership as the world's largest manufacturer of
seasonal influenza vaccine, supplying a large portion of the estimated global
production of about 350 million doses(1). Sanofi pasteur's Vaxigrip(R) and
Fluzone(R) influenza virus vaccines are licensed in over 100 countries.

    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 pandemic strains have such potential to cause severe
morbidity and mortality. In an attempt to minimize the impact of a pandemic,
many countries are developing national and transnational plans against a
possible influenza pandemic situation.

    Sanofi Pasteur and Pandemic Preparedness

    Sanofi pasteur is committed to global pandemic preparedness. As the world
leader in research, development and manufacturing of influenza vaccines,
sanofi pasteur is actively involved in several pandemic preparedness projects
in the U.S. and Europe, with the goal of developing a vaccine to protect
against a pandemic influenza virus. Sanofi pasteur is also investing in major
expansions of its seasonal influenza vaccine production facilities in the U.S.
and France, which could be used to produce pandemic influenza vaccine if the
need arises.
    For more information please visit http://pandemic.influenza.com

    About sanofi-aventis

    Sanofi-aventis is one of the world leaders in the pharmaceutical
industry, ranking number one in Europe. Backed by a world-class R&D
organisation, sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major
therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, thrombosis, oncology, metabolic diseases,
central nervous system, internal medicine and vaccines. Sanofi-aventis is
listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE:   SNY).
    Sanofi pasteur, the vaccines division of the sanofi-aventis Group,
provided more than a billion doses of vaccine in 2006, making it possible to
immunize more than 500 million people across the globe. A world leader in the
vaccine industry, sanofi pasteur offers the broadest range of vaccines
protecting against 20 infectious diseases. The Company's heritage, to create
vaccines that protect life, dates back more than a century. Sanofi pasteur is
the largest company entirely dedicated to vaccines. Every day, the company
invests more than EUR 1 million in research and development. For more
information, please visit: http://www.sanofipasteur.com or
http://www.sanofipasteur.us

    Forward Looking Statements

    This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. 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, intentions 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 "expects," "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,
2006. Other than as required by applicable law, sanofi-aventis does not
undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information
or statements.

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





For further information:

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

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