Isis CEO expects Sanofi to acquire Genzyme

By Deena Beasley

SAN FRANCISCO (BestGrowthStock) – The bid by French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA: ) to acquire U.S. biotechnology company Genzyme Corp (GENZ.O: ) is likely to succeed, according to the Chief Executive Officer at Genzyme drug development partner Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc (ISIS.O: ).

In an interview, CEO Stanley Crooke said discussions of a “contingent value right” that would give Genzyme shareholders an additional benefit if certain sales targets for an experimental multiple sclerosis drug are met are likely to seal a deal.

Sanofi has offered $69 a share — or $18.5 billion — to acquire Genzyme, but the price has been rejected by Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer as too low.

Isis has partnered with Genzyme to develop experimental cholesterol drug mipomersen. It is based on a novel technology known as antisense, which aims to interfere at the genetic level to prevent rogue proteins from being formed.

“Sanofi is a strong commercial organization … they look at mipomersen as an important part of the growth story,” Crooke said.

He said Sanofi brings “added muscle” to developing Genzyme’s product pipeline.

“Based on everything we know today, it (mipomersen) is going to be a Genzyme, and presumably a Sanofi drug,” Crooke said.

Genzyme and Isis said on Monday that U.S. regulators had asked for additional data from trials of mipomersen in certain patients with severely high cholesterol, resulting in a possible delay of the drug’s submission for U.S. review.

(Editing by Carol Bishopric)