sanofi-aventisSanofi-aventis (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY) announced an exclusive global licensing agreement with The Rockefeller University (New York, NY) concerning a novel monoclonal antibody, targeting certain specific forms of the Amyloid Beta parenchymal plaque for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

The anti-Amyloid Beta (ABeta) antibody therapy is a highly attractive approach to prevent and reverse the amyloid plaque formation which may lead to cognitive improvement in patients with Alzheimer's disease. This antibody is planned to enter development at the end of 2009.

"It's a great pleasure to interact with The Rockefeller University and in particular with Dr. Jeffrey Ravetch, a worldwide expert in the engineering of mAb Fc region and effector functions," declared Marc Cluzel, Executive Vice-President, R&D, sanofi-aventis. "Dr Ravetch discovered the original murine monoclonal antibody targeting the Amyloid Beta peptide, one target which may have a significant positive impact in the management of patients with Alzheimer's disease, which is a public health priority."

"I am pleased to contribute with sanofi-aventis to the development of a novel anti-ABeta antibody for the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease" said Dr. Jeffrey Ravetch - Professor and Head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology at The Rockefeller University. "The initial studies suggest that this antibody may be an effective means of reducing the progression of this widespread and debilitating disease."

Under the terms of the agreement, sanofi-aventis will obtain an exclusive worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize the anti-ABeta antibody. The terms of such license are undisclosed.

About Alzheimer's disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain, which causes thinking and memory to become seriously impaired. It is the most common form of dementia, a syndrome consisting of a number of symptoms that include loss of memory, judgment and reasoning, and changes in mood, behavior and communication abilities. Generally, it is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age, although the less-prevalent early-onset Alzheimer's can occur much earlier. In 2009, the reported prevalence of Alzheimer's is 35 million worldwide and to strongly increase in the next decades due to ageing population.

About Amyloid Beta (ABeta) and Alzheimer's disease
One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease is the accumulation of amyloid plaques between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Amyloid is a general term for protein fragments that the body produces normally. Amyloid Beta is a protein fragment snipped from an Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP). In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are broken down and eliminated. In Alzheimer's disease, the fragments accumulate to form hard, insoluble plaques.

About The Rockefeller University
The Rockefeller University is a world-renowned center for research and graduate education in the biomedical sciences, chemistry, and physics. Founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901, the university has been the site of many important scientific breakthroughs. Rockefeller scientists established that DNA is the chemical basis of heredity, discovered blood groups, showed that viruses can cause cancer, founded the modern field of cell biology, and worked out the structure of antibodies. Twenty-three Nobel Prize winners have been associated with the university.

About sanofi-aventis
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).