According to reports in India, Sanofi-Aventis plans to buy branded generics and over-the-counter consumer healthcare brands in the country.

The Economc Times quotes Shailesh Ayyangar, managing director of Aventis Pharma, as saying that "we are going to new territories, expanding our earlier focus of selling only innovator drugs". The company is looking at vitamins, mineral supplements, orthopaedic, gynaecology and nutraceutical brands, plus branded anti-infectives, antibiotics, respiratory tract infection and women's health products. 

Mr Ayyangar told the newspaper that "we are actively pursuing targets," and Sanofi is also open to partnerships and acquiring companies. As well as consumer products [it has just launched an ointment version of its painkiller Combiflam (paracetamol/ibuprofen)], Sanofi also sees India as a growth region for its diabetes products and vaccines to drive growth in India.

Meantime, Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines arm of the French drugmaker, has linked up with the International Vaccine Institute to raise awareness and "work to move dengue vaccination higher on the global health agenda".

Currently, there is no specific treatment available for dengue fever which, Sanofi notes is "a threat to nearly half of the world’s population". Of the estimated 220 million people infected annually, two million, mostly children, develop dengue haemorrhagic fever and require hospitalisation "representing a significant burden on the fragile healthcare systems of developing and endemic nations,” said Ragnar Norrby, IVI's chairman.

He added that “with a dengue vaccine on the short-term horizon, this collaboration will focus on accelerating its adoption and introduction and on making it accessible to those at highest risk of dengue.” Sanofi Pasteur chief Olivier Charmeil noted that the first dengue vaccine is now in the final stages of development and the IVI "will be a key player in facilitating discussions among policymakers, with the objective of ensuring that once licensed the vaccine will be made available to those populations that need it most in a timely manner".

Sanofi's own dengue vaccine is in a Phase III study in Australia and in Phase I/II trials in the USA, Asia and Latin America.