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Sanofi’s (SNY - Analyst Report) vaccines division, Sanofi Pasteur, recently announced that Cdiffense, a phase III program, has been initiated. Sanofi is working on developing a vaccine for the prevention of primary symptomatic Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). The program aims to assess the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of the CDI vaccine.

A randomized, observer-blind, placebo-controlled, multi-center, multi-national, phase III trial has stared enrolling patients under the Cdiffense program. The trial will enroll up to 15,000 volunteers aged above 50 years, who have received systemic antibiotics in the past year and are planning to be hospitalized or were hospitalized at least twice before.

Earlier this year, Sanofi’s vaccine portfolio received a boost when the European Commission approved its 6-in-1 pediatric vaccine Hexyon/Hexacima (DTaP-IPV-Hib-HepBvaccine).

The 6-in-1 vaccine is indicated for the prevention of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, poliomyelitis and invasive infections caused by haemophilus influenzaetype b in infants.

We note that Sanofi possesses one of the world’s leading vaccine operations, with total sales of €3.9 billion in 2012. The company’s portfolio includes pediatric vaccines, influenza vaccines, adult and adolescent booster vaccines, meningitis vaccines, and travel and endemic vaccines. Sanofi also has a strong position in both seasonal and pre-pandemic influenza vaccines.

Sanofi continues to expand its vaccine business. We expect a significant ramp in vaccine sales over the next several years.

Sanofi carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Sanofi is looking to combat the generic threat confronting most of its key drugs by signing deals and making acquisitions. We are pleased with Sanofi’s efforts to develop its pipeline and believe that newly approved products in Sanofi’s portfolio holds huge commercial potential.

Companies that currently look attractive include Actelion Ltd. (ALIOF), Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB - Analyst Report) and Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD - Analyst Report), carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Buy).

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