All eyes were on Sanofi-Aventis ($SNY) chief Christopher Viehbacher (photo) and Genzyme ($GENZ) CEO Henri Termeer (photo) at J.P. Morgan's healthcare conference, looking for clues to the status of their potential merger. But as the Boston Globe reports, the two executives gave each other a wide berth, but separately acknowledged that negotiations are proceeding.
Termeer sat in the back of a ballroom at the Westin St. Francis to listen to Viehbacher's presentation; the Sanofi chief told his audience that buying Genzyme would help his company rebuild its franchise, the Globe reports. "We're interested in creating a platform, not only in biotechnology but in rare diseases," Viehbacher said, and, of course, Genzyme specializes in rare diseases.
Interestingly, Viehbacher also said Sanofi's bid for Genzyme is part of its globalization strategy. Building up in emerging markets has won lots of attention, but the U.S. is still key to pharma's success, he said. "Everyone's busy talking about India and China, but you can't write off the United States," Viehbacher said to Bloomberg. "It's become important for us to do a deal in the U.S. and also to balance out the geographies a bit."