Deals with the Pasteur Institute and Connaught Biosciences establish Institut Merieux as a global front-runner

PARIS--At 8:20 A.M. on December 13, Jacques Francois Martin, general manager of the Institut Merieux, received a transatlantic call in his Lyons office from Alan Nymark, vice president of Investment Canada, a unit of the Canadian Ministry of Industry, Science, and Technology. Nymark was calling to tell Martin that Merieux could proceed with its proposed takeover of Connaught Biosciences, Canada's largest vaccine producer and the owner of Connaught Laboratories Inc., of Swiftwater, Pa.

The call sealed a 5-billion franc (U.S. $800 million) deal in which Merieux won out over a competing bid from Ciba-Geigy, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, and its U.S. partner, Chiron Corp. The acquisition puts it on the road to becoming the undisputed leader in a $1 billion global vaccine market. It's the latest evidence that the family-run but government-controlled enterprise, founded in...

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