Sanofi chief unswayed by Genzyme forecasts

Sanofi-Aventis chief Chris Viehbacher said he's standing firm on the company's current $69-per-share offer for Genzyme. Apparently, he wasn't swayed by the forecasts Genzyme released to investors last week. "Some of it confirmed our assumptions and some of it seems quite unrealistic," he said during the a conference call with analysts. "[W]e didn't hear anything of substance that would cause us to change our $69 per share offer."

Viehbacher promised to stay "patient and disciplined," even as Sanofi reported third-quarter earnings that illustrate exactly why it's so interested in Genzyme to begin with. Though the company posted street-beating earnings--and raised its annual forecast to boot--the details behind those numbers highlight Sanofi's key weakness: Generic competition.

Sales of the blood thinner Lovenox, which got a generic rival about 30 days into Q3, dropped by 26 percent to €589 million ($818.8 million). As Reuters notes, Sanofi's clotbuster Plavix already faces some limited competition, as does the cancer drug Eloxatin. And Taxotere will be the next victim, with Hospira set to unveil a copycat rival by year's end.

Before Sanofi first announced its bid for Genzyme, Viehbacher told reporters that he'd like to get away from easily-imitated drugs--such as Genzyme's expensive remedies for rare diseases. He'd like to fill his medicine chest with revenues that won't be under immediate threat. Will Sanofi finally succeed in nabbing Genzyme and its drugs? The standoff between Viehbacher and Genzyme chief Henri Termeer will have to end first.

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