Reports: Genzyme Inks Merger Deal With Sanofi-Aventis

Genzyme’s headquarters in Cambridge (Stottyboombotty/Flickr)
Genzyme’s headquarters in Cambridge (Stottyboombotty/Flickr)

Shares of Genzyme stock jumped 3.5 percent on Tuesday, as investors responded to reports that the Cambridge company has agreed to be bought by Sanofi-Aventis for $19.2 billion.

The French drug giant has been pursuing Genzyme for months, and many analysts have been surprised at the prolonged negotiations. Now, on the eve of an offer deadline, it appears the two have finally come to an agreement. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters are reporting the deal will be announced Wednesday morning.

Genzyme stockholders would get $74 dollars per share, plus as much as $5 per share more down the road, if one of the company’s drugs in development sells well.

Cambridge-based Genzyme gives Sanofi a new pipeline of drugs as the international pharmaceutical company loses increasing market share to generic drug producers.

"Genzyme does have quite a number of attractive assets that synergize nicely with Sanofi," said Joshua Schimmer, biotechnology analyst at the Boston-based equity research firm Leerink Swann.

Schimmer and other analysts say the merger will inevitably lead to job cuts. After all, the buyout would transfer the ownership of one of Massachusetts’ most prominent homegrown biotech firms away from the state. Changes to Genzyme's manufacturing plant in Allston are also possible.

On the other hand, Sanofi-Aventis' international marketing and expertise could help Genzyme reach more customers and develop more drugs down the road.

This program aired on February 15, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Curt Nickisch Business & Technology Reporter
Curt Nickisch was formerly WBUR's business and technology reporter.



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