Sanofi-Aventis has entered into a pact with Berlin’s famous Charite university hospital which will involve a focus on personalised medicine.

The public-private partnership, which Sanofi claims is the first of its kind in Germany, will start from the pre-clinical research phase, “much earlier than it is the case with the usual types of cooperation”. The French drugmaker says that “model systems…will be developed and tested together, and new methods for personalised medicine will be pursued”.

The first projects will commence shortly in the fields of stroke research and inflammatory auto-immune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. The partners added that other plans include setting up “a support programme for innovative projects of young researchers”.

Sanofi chief exeutive Chris Viehbacher said that the collaboration is consistent with our objective to increase innovation in R&D through greater openness”. Karl Max Einhaupl, chairman at Charite (one of the largest university hospitals in Europe, employing 14,500 people and boasting turnover of over 1 billion euros a year), added that “this new approach of mutual exchange is very important for both sides, as it is easier to overcome structural and financial challenges as a team”.

News of the deal comes days after Sanofi entered into a strategic alliance agreement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Biomedical Innovation. A programme has been set up to promote scientific exchange between the two groups that will provide MIT researchers with “focused, flexible and rapidly available support”.