Genzyme quick to sell Swiss unit

Genzyme may have been playing hard to get with suitor Sanofi-Aventis, but it strikes a much different posture with another wooer, International Chemical Investors Group. The Massachusetts-based big biotech is on the fast track in selling its pharmaceutical intermediates business to an ICIG affiliate.

The companies want to close the deal before April. They've signed a purchase agreement that would create Corden Pharma Switzerland, part of ICIG's Corden Pharma.

The 120-employee Genzyme unit, located primarily at a plant in Liestal, Switzerland, makes chemically synthesized pharma materials and specializes in lipids, peptides, carbohydrates, oligonucleotides and custom small molecules. ICIG has agreed to offer employment to the unit's workforce.

As part of the deal, Corden will contract to supply Genzyme with materials for the production of eliglustat tartrate, an investigational Gaucher disease treatment now in Phase III testing, and materials for other treatments in earlier stages of development.

- see Genzyme's release