PARIS, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Institut Pasteur and Mérieux Alliance have signed a letter of intent for a long-term research partnership.

The Institut Pasteur and Mérieux Alliance (which comprises the companies: bioMérieux, Transgene, Shantha Biotechnics, ABL and Silliker) would like to pool their resources and efforts to fight infectious diseases through major research projects, spanning the following fields:

- Clinical diagnostics and theranostics (in partnership with bioMérieux and Transgene) - Food safety and microbiological control, nutrition, health and environment (with bioMérieux and Silliker) - Immunotherapy (with Transgene and Shantha Biotechnics)

The research projects under consideration must focus on major pathologies calling upon expertise in the fields of virology, bacteriology and immunology. The results of these joint research projects could be utilized by the Mérieux Alliance companies and would enhance the Institut Pasteur's patent portfolio, contributing to the valorization of its research efforts.

This collaboration between a world-renowned scientific foundation and a major bioindustrial group exemplifies the cross-disciplinary approach needed to develop new solutions for fighting infectious diseases. It also represents a new and significant milestone in the collaboration between the Institut Pasteur and a group sharing Pasteurian roots, dedicated to biology and serving public health worldwide.

The signature of this letter of intent follows an agreement signed between the Institut Pasteur and the Fondation Mérieux on April 14th, aimed at encouraging collaboration in the fight against infectious diseases in developing countries. This includes research to develop solutions adapted to local constraints, interactions between the international network of Pasteur institutes and the Fondation Mérieux's GABRIEL network and the coordination of actions in the field.

I am extremely pleased with this agreement with Mérieux Alliance that will contribute to improving public health worldwide, stated Alice Dautry, president of the Institut Pasteur. Together, we want to develop innovative approaches that will allow us, in the future, to win new battles against disease.

I am happy to reinforce our innovation capabilities for major public health issues through this agreement, declared Alain Mérieux, president of Mérieux Alliance. Reconnecting with a long, Pasteurian family legacy, I am certain that our work together will open new horizons for tomorrow's medicine.

About Institut Pasteur

The Institut Pasteur is one of the world's leading biomedical research centre. Founded by Louis Pasteur in 1887, it is a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to the prevention and treatment of diseases through biological research, education and public-health activities. Close to 2,600 people work on its campus in Paris, where a large part of its research activities are devoted to infectious diseases and 10% focuses on AIDS research. The Paris institute is the heart of an International Network made up that unites 30 institutes across all five continents. Over a period of 120 years, 10 Institut Pasteur researchers have received the Nobel Prize, the latest of these in 2008, when it was awarded to Professors Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier for the discovery of the Aids virus.

About Mérieux Alliance

Drawing on a long tradition and renowned expertise in bioindustry, Mérieux Alliance, the family holding company of Alain Mérieux, is dedicated to constantly improving patient care worldwide by developing new biotechnology-based solutions.

Mérieux Alliance comprises five companies dedicated to public health that span the full range of healthcare: prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and clinical follow-up:

- bioMérieux, based in Marcy l'Etoile (France), which is 59%-controlled. A worldwide group specialized in the field of in vitro diagnostics and industrial microbiological testing; - Silliker, based in Chicago (US), which is 89%-controlled. A network of food testing and consulting laboratories; - Shantha Biotechnics Ltd, based in Hyderabad (India), which is 80%-controlled. Specialized in developing and producing vaccines and therapeutic proteins; - Transgene, based in Strasbourg (France), which is 55%-controlled. Dedicated to the development of therapeutic vaccines and immunotherapeutic products in oncology and infectious diseases; - ABL Inc (Advanced BioScience Laboratories), based in Washington D.C. (US), which is 100%-owned. Specialized in virological research.

Under the leadership of Alain Mérieux, 10,000 people worldwide are part of Mérieux Alliance. The group achieved consolidated revenues of EUR1.3 billion in 2008.

Media contacts: Mérieux Alliance, Anne de Chiffreville, +33-6-24-48-36-70, Institut Pasteur, Nadine Peyrolo, +33-1-45-68-81-47, Image 7, Tiphaine Hecketsweiler: +33-1-53-70-74-70,