Sanofi-Aventis says it has linked up with the USA’s Scripps Genomic Medicine “to advance R&D initiatives in the field of individualised medicine”.

Under the terms of the alliance, the French drugmaker is to fund up to three “discovery innovation grants” per year, which Sanofi claims will offer flexible financing for innovative proposals from investigators working at SGM, a unit of Scripps Health. In return, the drugs major will receive non-exclusive rights to any research tools developed through these grants, as well as preferred access to Scripps laboratory facilities for work in the area of personalised medicine.

Sanofi added that it is also getting access to Scripps research programmes that can contribute to the company's priority areas. Financial details of the pact have not been disclosed.

Marc Cluzel, the Paris-headquartered firm’s head of research, said the alliance fits with a strategy involving ”a range of innovative partners focused on cutting-edge scientific R&D initiatives". He added that "personalised medicine, particularly the application of genomics, has the potential to vastly improve patient health” and this partnership “seeks to significantly enhance our research activities in this important field”.

The deal comes a couple of months after Sanofi entered into a pact with Berlin’s famous Charite university hospital which will involve a focus on personalised medicine. Specifically, that alliance will focus on stroke research and inflammatory auto-immune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.

Eric Topol, chief academic officer at Scripps Health, said the deal “exemplifies the ideal collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and non-profit research community”. He believes the partnership will” foster an environment of open scientific exchange in genomic medicine that we hope will translate to new discoveries”.

Scripps Health is a $2.2 billion, private not-for-profit “community health system” based in San Diego which treats half a million patients annually. It has 2,500 doctors and 13,000 employees working out of five hospitals and a range other healthcare operations.