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Genzyme to sell intermediates biz to ICIG

By Gareth MacDonald+

02-Feb-2011
Last updated on 02-Feb-2011 at 13:36 GMT

Genzyme will sell its pharmaceutical intermediates business to International Chemical Investors Group (ICIG).

The unit, which makes lipids, peptides, carbohydrates, oligonucleotides and custom small molecules, will be renamed Corden Pharma Switzerland and will continue to operate its manufacturing facility in Liestal, Switzerland.

Announcement of the deal, which does not include the Genzyme unit’s delivery technology business, follows just a day after the US biotechoogy firm completed the sale of its diagnostic products unit to Sekisui Chemical for $265m.

And, like Sekisui which will supply Genzyme with enzymes need for production of Cerezyme, ICIG has agreed to manufacture trial supplies of the US biotechnology firm’s Phase III candidate Gaucher’s disease drug, eliglustat tartrate.

ICIG will also supply materials needed for the manufacture of other drugs in earlier stages of development, including neo-GAA, currently in preclinical development as a potential next-generation treatment for Pompe disease.

In a press statement Genzyme said that the sale is part of an “ongoing effort to sharpen its focus on its key businesses,” citing the December divestiture of its genetic testing unit as an earlier example of these efforts.

Sanofi Aventis

Genzyme’s decision to sell its intermediates wing to ICIG will not have come as a surprise to current suitor, French drugmaker Sanofi Aventis, which earlier this week was granted access to the US biotechnology firm’s books.

In a statement released on Monday Genzyme said it has entered into a confidentiality agreement to enable Sanofi to conduct due diligence as part of an effort to agree on a fair value for a potential takeover.

And, although both firms said nothing more other than that discussions were ongoing, a number of reports suggest that the due diligence procedure is beginning to make some progress.

An article today in the Boston Globe suggested that Sanofi, which has previously been reluctant to increase its $69 a share bid, may increase its offer to $71 per share.

The Wall Street Journal went further, suggesting that Sanofi may pay $74 a share in cash upfront in a deal that would value Genzyme at around $19bn.

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