Glaxo follows Sanofi-Aventis to biotech major Genzyme

26 Jul 2010


Just a few days after French drug firm, Sanofi-Aventis approached US-based Genzyme Corporation, for a potential takeover, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is now circling the troubled biotechnology company.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday citing an unidentified person said to be familiar with the matter that GSK, the UK's largest pharmaceutical firm and the world's fourth-largest by revenue, made a "very casual approach" to Genzyme to inform it if it is considering to sell itself.

Both companies did not discuss any further, said the Journal.

On Friday 23 July, Sanofi-Aventis, the world's fourth-largest pharmaceutical company by prescription sales, made an informal acquisition approach to Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Genzyme about a potential takeover. (See: Sanofi-Aventis targets troubled Genzyme Corp for takeover) 

Genzyme, which has yet not decided whether it wants to sell itself, is considering an informal offer from Sanofi-Aventis.

London-based GSK, formed through the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and Smithkline Beecham in 2000 to emerge as the world's second largest pharmaceutical and research-based company, employs 99,000 worldwide and had reported revenues of $28.4 billion for 2009 and net profit of $5.5 billion.

In December, GSK said that it would continue to pursue acquisitions and alliances in emerging markets, as, like other drug makers, it seeks to tap rising healthcare spending in emerging economies.

The group has embarked on cost cutting with targeted savings of £2.2 billion by 2012 of which, £1.5 billion is expected to be achieved by the end of this year.

GSK had said last week that it expects a legal charge of £1.57 billion ($2.4 billion) for the second quarter for settling claims related to Avandia as well as an investigation into its former factory at Cidra in Puerto Rico and anti-trust litigation over its anti-depressant Paxil.

GSK has already been bombarded with more than 13,000 lawsuits over Avavdia from users who allege that they had been misled about the drug's safety. Last week, the company paid $460 million to settle 10,000 of these claims.

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