Eastman Kodak paid $5 billion for Sterling Drug in 1988, but the unit is still a 98-pound weakling in a land of pharmaceutical giants. To bulk up, Kodak plans to share future sales-and-development costs with a European drugmaker. On Jan. 9, it disclosed plans to form an alliance with France's Sanofi that would create U. S.- and French-based companies with $2.3 billion in combined sales and an annual $500 million development budget. Expected to be completed by Mar. 31, the deal would pool some operations while retaining two separately managed businesses, each to be called Sanofi Winthrop.
Sterling, which has few new drugs in its labs, would win forthcoming Sanofi hypertension and heart drugs and would give the French subsidiary of Elf Aquitaine access to Sterling's U. S. and European sales outlets.