Sanofi-Aventis is a French provider of drugs and healthcare products and a serial acquirer of rivals having swollen to its current scale through about 250 purchases.

CEO Chris Viehbacher believes that the company's strengths in areas such as vaccines and in emerging markets will fuel growth over the coming years and insists he is not interested in big, complex deals that he believes crush innovation.

IT plays a huge role in driving pharmaceutical research and development and the neverending search for new blockbuster treatments as other drugs come to the end of patents and Sanofi uses IBM Cognos for business intelligence and planning and Microsoft for unified communications and portal-based collaboration. But the company is going further, using social networking to improve healthcare. For example, it has developed an iPhone app called GoMeals to help sufferers manage diabetes and established a Twitter presence to connect diabetics.

In November, Sanofi-Aventis announced plans to close its Dagenham plant that employs 450 staff.