France-based sanofi-aventis and Switzerland's Roche have entered into an agreement regarding the production of shikimic acid, the raw ingredient in Roche's anti-influenza drug Tamiflu. Under the terms of the contract, sanofi-aventis will manufacture the ingredient and supply it exclusively to Roche. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
In recent months, production of Tamiflu has increased dramatically amidst growing worries about an avian flu pandemic. Roche recently donated 3 million doses of Tamiflu to the World Health Organization, and is working with several governments to stockpile the drug.