Genzyme to sell diagnostics business to Japan's Sekisui Chemical for $265 million

Japan's largest synthetic resin processor Sekisui Chemicals today said it had entered into a deal with US biotechnology company Genzyme Corporation  to buy its diagnostics products business for $265 million.

Genzyme, which is fending off a $18.5-billion hostile takeover bid by French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis Genzyme had said in May 2010 that it would sell three non-core units - genetic testing, diagnostic products and pharmaceutical material in order to finance the second half of the company's $2-billion stock buyback.

As part of this plan, Genzyme, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had sold its genetic testing business to Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp) for $925 million in September 2010. (See: Genzyme to sell genetic testing business to LabCorp for $925 million)

Osaka-based Sekisui said it will buy Genzyme's diagnostics products business, which employs 575 employees in North America, the UK and Germany, by the end of December 2010.

Genzyme had reported sales of $4.5 billion in 2009, of which its medical business contributed $167 million.

Sekisui, which has partnered Gensyme in diagnostic product operations since 1995, said that it would use Genzyme's diagnostic product US and European sales resources to expand its medical products business in these regions.

Since its launch in 1981, Genzyme has grown from a small start-up to a diversified company with more than 12,000 employees in locations spanning the globe. In 2010, the company was named in the Fortune 500 list.

The company's drugs are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant, and immune diseases. It also has a strong late-stage pipeline that is expected to help drive long-term growth.