Sanofi-Aventis has become the latest drug company to sell R&D facilities to a service firm. In an agreement worth up to $2.2 billion, the French pharmaceutical giant will sell its Porcheville, France, and Alnwick, England, sites to the drug development services company Covance for about $25 million. Covance says it will keep the combined 300 employees at these sites for at least the next five years. Over the next 10 years, Covance expects to provide drug development services to Sanofi, receiving total payments ranging between $1.2 billion and $2.2 billion. “This alliance with Covance will help us preserve hundreds of valuable jobs in Porcheville and Alnwick, while driving our R&D efficiency,” Sanofi R&D head Marc Cluzel says. In 2008, Covance struck a similar agreement with Eli Lilly & Co., taking over the drug company’s site in Greenfield, Ind. That deal came with a 10-year contract worth $1.6 billion. In recent months, GlaxoSmithKline has sold European R&D sites to Aptuit and Galapagos, both drug development services firms.