Novartis Versus Alcon: The Saga Continues

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeHaving acquired 77% of Alcon, Novartis now has its eyes on the remaining few shares, which lie in the hands of minority shareholders, but will it be able to acquire them? Novartis says yes — and that it has the law on its side — but Alcon says no — and that it also has the law on its side. Read more »

Genzyme Steals Headlines Again

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeGenzyme, Genzyme, Genzyme… Most of us won’t have missed the company’s name splashed across dozens of news stories this week relating to a potential acquisition, the selling of its genetics unit and 1000 layoffs. First of all, there’s the ongoing question of whether Genzyme will succumb to sanofi-aventis’ acquisition offer. Genzyme reportedly rejected the offer of $69 per share at the end of August, but sanofi has yet to offer a higher price. Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher is still hoping for a “reasonable price”, according to a Reuters article, though he also added that he expects the process to be slow. A report from Bloomberg also speculated that the offer may have to be upped to $75 per share to please Genzyme investors. Read more »

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 »

Will Sanofi Bag Genzyme?

Stephanie Sutton Pharm Tech EuropeThe past two weeks have seen dozens of third-party headlines speculating about sanofi aventis possibly making a move to acquire Genzyme. Officially, there has been no word with both companies remaining extremely cagey about any of the details. However, Reuters, Bloomberg and a few other sources claim to have squeezed out a few dribbles of information from “people familiar with the situation” and anonymous staff members. So let’s take a look at what may (or may not be) the current situation. 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 »

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 »

Sanofi and Shantha: Cousin, Cousine

Erik Greb PharmTech editorReading the news sometimes gives me a disorienting sense of déjà vu. I know I wrote that last week, but it’s true again for a different reason. Today, French heavyweight sanofi aventis (Paris) announced that it was acquiring a majority stake in Shantha Biotechnics (Hyderabad, India). This new development follows a now-familiar pattern. Read more »

Dark Horse or Albatross?

Erik Greb PharmTech editorReading the news sometimes gives me a disorienting sense of déjà vu. I felt it again when I read that Ranbaxy (Gurgaon, Haryana, India) had recalled a batch of its acne drug isotretinoin after the US Food and Drug Administration found that the product’s dissolution-test results were out of specification. Didn’t this happen once before? Read more »

Eli Lilly Interested in Smaller Acquisitions, Not Mega-Merger

Alexis Brekke Pellek PharmTech editorEli Lilly & Co. (Indianapolis) CEO John Lechleiter earlier this week told the Financial Times that he is not interested in becoming part of the recent mega-merger trend (see Pfizer+Wyeth, Merck+Schering-Plough and Roche+Genentech). Rumors and speculation have had some thinking Lilly+Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) would be the next big thing, but Lechleiter specifically ended rumors of that combination and remained critical of Big Pharma’s recent big deals. Read more »

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