Celebrating 90 years of diabetes innovation

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LAVAL, QC, Nov. 29, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - As Diabetes Awareness Month closes, Diabète Québec and Sanofi Canada are proud to work in partnership to raise awareness for and celebrate the contribution of diabetes innovation throughout the past 90 years.  Today at Alexis Nihon Plaza the public was invited to a special historical display of those diabetes innovations that have helped thousands of people with diabetes live life to the fullest.

One of Canada's major innovations was the large-scale production of insulin. About 90 years ago, in Toronto, at the Connaught Laboratories, production methods were developed and perfected by Dr. John G. Fitzgerald (1882-1940) and his associates. Their breakthrough made insulin available on a mass scale and at affordable prices for the first time, within a year after its discovery. For more information, please click here.

"Our involvement in diabetes management goes back to the early 20th century when, following the discovery of insulin in Canada by Frederick Banting and Charles Best, we played a key role in developing techniques for the large-scale production of insulin.  We are incredibly proud of our history," said Mark Lievonen, President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited.

As part of the celebration, Montreal cake designer, Tim Rivard, unveiled a specially-designed cake for the occasion. Even when living with diabetes, sugars can be included in a healthy diet as a part of a carefully planned meal plan. Diabetes Québec also had an information booth and nutritionist to educate people about diabetes prevention and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

"Early this century, type 1 diabetes was a death sentence. Thanks to the discovery and manufacturing of insulin, people with diabetes from around the world now live longer and healthier lives. It is important to celebrate our successes in managing diabetes because every day is a new challenge," said Serge Langlois, President and Executive Director at Diabetes Québec.

"Diabetes affects millions of Canadians so every innovation, whether a breakthrough or incremental, is important - and we have a rich history here to celebrate," said Hugh O'Neill, President and CEO of Sanofi Canada.  "At Sanofi Canada, our focus is to simplify the management of a complex disease and we are working hard in partnership with everyone committed to diabetes care, developing innovative solutions to help people with diabetes live as people not as patients."

About Diabetes
Currently, there are 9 million people living with diabetes or prediabetes in Canada. Diabetes is a chronic condition that stems from the body's inability to sufficiently produce and/or properly use insulin which the body needs to use sugar as an energy source. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, where the body makes little or no insulin; type 2, where the body makes insulin but cannot use it properly; and gestational diabetes, where the body is not able to properly use insulin during pregnancy. This type of diabetes could go away after the baby is born.

Diabetes is both a national and an international challenge. By 2020, it is estimated that diabetes will cost the Canadian healthcare system $16.9 billion a year.  Currently, one in four Canadians lives with diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes, or prediabetes; this will rise to one in three by 2020 if current trends continue.

Left untreated or improperly managed, diabetes can result in a variety of complications, including: heart disease; kidney disease; eye disease; problems with erection (impotence) and nerve damage. The first step in preventing or delaying the onset of these complications is recognizing the risk factors, as well as the signs and symptoms of diabetes.

About Diabetes Quebec
For more than 50 years, Diabetes Québec has been informing the Quebec public about the disease and raising awareness of diabetes. This insidious disease now affects more than 760,000 Quebecers with 40,000 new cases of diabetes diagnosed each year. Its incidence has been rising at an epidemic rate and is taking a heavy economic toll. The province now spends more than $3 billion a year in direct and indirect healthcare costs related to this disease. To learn more, visit www.diabete.qc.ca.

About Sanofi
Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients' needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health.

Sanofi is represented in Canada by the pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., based in Laval, Quebec, and by the vaccines company Sanofi Pasteur Limited, based in Toronto, Ontario. Together they employ more than 2,000 people across the country. With combined R&D investments of $159.2 million in 2010, they are leaders in Canada's biopharmaceutical sector, a critical knowledge-based industry that generates jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.

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 projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives, intentions and expectations with respect to future financial results, events, operations, services, product development and potential, 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's 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, 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 among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, future clinical data and analysis, including post marketing, decisions by regulatory authorities, such as the FDA or the EMA, regarding whether and when to approve any drug, device or biological application that may be filed for any such product candidates as well as their decisions regarding labeling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of such products candidates, the absence of guarantee that the products candidates if approved will be commercially successful, the future approval and commercial success of therapeutic alternatives, the Group's ability to benefit from external growth opportunities as well as those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by Sanofi, including those listed under "Risk Factors" and "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" in Sanofi's annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2010. Other than as required by applicable law, Sanofi does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.


1 Canadian Diabetes Association, 2011. Sweeteners. Available at http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/nutrition/sweeteners/ [Accessed 14 November 2011]. 

SOURCE Sanofi Canada

For further information:

Marc Aras
Diabetes Québec
514-259-3422 ext. 231
Nadia Rahman
Sanofi Canada
Andréan Gagné
Cohn & Wolfe

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