Sanofi raises stake in Regeneron to 22.5 percent from 20.5 percent

July 1 Tue Jul 1, 2014 9:49am EDT

July 1 (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi SA will raise its stake in Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc to 22.5 percent, Sanofi said in a U.S. regulatory filing Tuesday, as part of an agreement between the companies allowing Sanofi to buy up to 30 percent.

Regeneron shares gained 4 percent, or $11.45, to $294.01 in early trading.

The two companies have several drug development partnerships, including potential multi-billion dollar cholesterol drugs, and Sanofi had a 20.5 percent stake in Regeneron as of April 7.

Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher said last year when the company had a 16 percent stake in Regeneron that it could raise the stake as high as 30 percent. In January, Regeneron said it had an investor agreement with Sanofi allowing it to take a 30 percent stake and to name a board member. It appointed Robert Ingram to Regeneron's board earlier this year.

The French company has been under pressure to put cash on hand to work since it became clear that it would not need the money to buy back a stake holding from L'Oreal. (Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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