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PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Covance Inc. (NYSE: CVD) today announced the signing of definitive agreements with sanofi-aventis (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) for Covance to become sanofi-aventis' R&D partner. Over the next ten years, Covance expects to provide drug development services to sanofi-aventis, with estimated payments ranging from approximately $1.2 billion to $2.2 billion.  Sanofi-aventis will sell their Porcheville, France and Alnwick, United Kingdom sites and facilities to Covance for approximately $25 million and Covance will maintain employment on these sites for at least the next five years. The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

"A key strategy for sanofi-aventis is to transform its R&D model and discover new medicines through the use of novel technologies and innovative partnerships," declared Marc Cluzel, M.D., PhD, Executive Vice-President, Research & Development, sanofi-aventis. "This alliance with Covance will help us preserve hundreds of valuable jobs in Porcheville and Alnwick, while driving our R&D efficiency for the benefit of the patients."

"We look forward to welcoming the world-class scientific talent in Porcheville and Alnwick to Covance, as well as adding state-of-the-art assets and new services to our portfolio," said Joe Herring, Covance Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Today's announcement represents another win-win solution to the R&D productivity challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry and provides Covance with a unique source of growth."

Under the agreements, sanofi-aventis will utilize Covance's global R&D portfolio of discovery support, toxicology, chemistry, clinical Phase I – IV, central laboratory, and market access services with annual comm

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