Sanofi-aventis has made a bid to acquire fellow pharmaceutical company Genzyme as part of its future development plans.
The company has addressed a letter to Genzyme's chairman, president and chief executive officer Henri Termeer detailing a non-binding proposal to purchase the firm for $18.5 billion (12 billion pounds) in cash.
Sanofi-aventis believes that its offer would deliver significant value to Genzyme's shareholders, while simultaneously creating a new global leader in the pharmaceuticals market.
The deal would see Genzyme become Sanofi-aventis' global centre for excellence in rare diseases, allowing both firms to more easily develop new treatments and improve penetration in existing and expanding markets.
Christopher Viehbacher, chief executive officer of Sanofi-aventis, said: "A combination with Genzyme represents a compelling opportunity for both companies and our respective shareholders and is consistent with our sustainable growth strategy."
Last month, Sanofi-aventis published its financial results for the second quarter of the year, reporting a year-on-year earnings improvement of 4.5 per cent.