Sanofi reportedly eyeing bid for Crucell

French newspapers are reporting that Sanofi-Aventis is eyeing a bid for vaccine maker Crucell, which made news this week when it confirmed that it was in buyout talks with Wyeth. First reported by Les Echos, Sanofi's interest in the Dutch company seems natural, given its big presence in the vaccines field. Sanofi refused to comment on a potential deal.

If Sanofi does enter the race for Crucell--or already has, behind the scenes--it could lead to a bidding war with Wyeth, which was negotiating to buy Crucell for up to $1.65 billion. And it could be an early test for new CEO Chris Viehbacher (photo), the ex-GlaxoSmithKline exec who took the helm at Sanofi just last month.

Le Figaro is rubbing its hands in glee at the possibility of Sanofi's snatching Crucell from Wyeth's jaws, pointing out that the French firm already has some partnerships in place with the vaccine specialist. The two companies are working together on improving vaccines for rabies and flu, for instance. Plus, the newspaper says, analysts say Crucell's technologies and pipeline would mesh well with Sanofi's.

- see the story in Le Figaro (in French)
- read this translation