Sanofi’s Courtship of Genzyme in Limbo

Erik Greb PharmTech editorNow it’s official. Rumors about sanofi-aventis’s (Paris) desire to purchase Genzyme (Cambridge, MA) have stirred speculation for weeks. The French drugmaker laid its cards on the table on Sunday by publishing its offer letter to Henri Termeer, Genzyme’s CEO. Sanofi proposed to pay $69 in cash per Genzyme share, or a total of about $18.5 billion, to acquire the biologics manufacturer. On Friday, Genzyme shares closed at $67.62.

Termeer’s response came this morning. It can be summed up in two words: nothing doing. Read more »

A Turning Point for Genzyme?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorHave you ever allowed yourself what you thought was ample time to drive somewhere, only to be delayed by a construction crew that was repairing the roads? Obviously, things don’t always work out as we plan them. Judging by its latest announcement about its facility ameliorations, Genzyme (Cambridge, MA) must have learned this lesson, too. Read more »

The US Treasury Shows R&D Scientists Some Love

Erik Greb PharmTech editorResearch and development (R&D) scientists may have been feeling down in the dumps lately. Many of them have lost their jobs in the last few months as a result of mergers and cost-cutting projects. But these sometimes underappreciated workers may soon get more respect, thanks to a US government initiative. Read more »

Is Healthcare Reform Socialism?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThe dust has partly settled since President Obama signed the “Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.” By now, analysts have had a chance to examine the act’s details and get a sense of what practical effects the legislation will have. So what will healthcare reform mean for pharmaceutical manufacturers? Read more »

Biopharmaceutical Boom and Bust

Erik Greb PharmTech editorBig biopharmaceutical companies likely struck up a chorus of “We’re in the Money” upon hearing Ernst and Young’s report that the world’s established biotechnology markets achieved profitability in 2009 for the first time ever. Mostly by dint of cost cutting, major players such as Genzyme (Cambridge, MA) moved out of the red and into the black. Making a profit was no small feat during the economic downturn, and large biopharmaceutical companies have a right to celebrate. Small companies and startups, however, are more likely to sing along with Bob Dylan, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s gettin’ there.” Read more »

Biopharmaceutical Collaboration Is a Sign of the Times

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThis morning I read about a public–private collaboration that reflects many of the latest trends in the drug industry today. The project began when the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) created the 21st Century Biodefense (21CB) initiative to enhance the nation’s biosecurity. Robert J. Cindrich, who is leading the initiative, said in a press release that the project’s goal was to foster advances in vaccine development and manufacturing. Battelle (Columbus, OH), a research and development organization, IBM (Armonk, NY), Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ), and GE Healthcare (Waukesha, WI) have all joined the collaboration so far. Read more »

Put Your Money Where Your Molecules Are

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThe numbers are in, and it looks like 2009 produced a bumper crop of biopharmaceuticals. The US Food and Drug Administration approved a record 16 new biopharmaceutical entities last year, as opposed to 10 in 2008, according to a study by the Biotechnology Information Institute. Seven recombinant-protein or antibody products were approved last year, continuing an upward trend for these molecules. Great news, right? Read more »

Genzyme’s Next Challenge

Erik Greb PharmTech editorLast week, Genzyme’s (Cambridge, MA) Allston Landing, Massachusetts, plant resumed production of Cerezyme, the company’s treatment for Gaucher’s disease. Genzyme presumably found and eliminated the source of contamination that had been reported weeks earlier. You’d think that after putting out this latest fire at the troubled plant, the company would be justified in heaving a sigh of relief. Read more »

Strutting and Fretting about Healthcare Reform

Erik Greb PharmTech editorAfter much ado, the US House of Representatives passed a healthcare-reform bill this weekend. Drugmakers and commentators are understandably eager to parse the bill to find out what it would mean for the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries. So what’s the verdict? Read more »

Is Big Pharma Choosing Patients over Patents?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorThe pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries have jealously guarded their intellectual property for years. Companies routinely use patents to prevent competitors from making generic versions of their drugs. When pipelines have weakened, companies have developed new formulations or delivery methods to extend patent protection for their established drugs. The economic crisis has only sharpened this reflex.

That’s why news from Ecuador made me do a doubletake. Read more »

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