Right now, anything that costs Genzyme a significant amount of money and damages its reputation is a big plus for Carl Icahn (photo). And Icahn had good reason to celebrate the big black eye Genzyme got from yesterday's news that the FDA will return to its Allston Landing facility in Boston and take a bigger role in overseeing its operations, a move that will likely pave the way to a considerable government fine.
Icahn has made headlines with his high-profile move to nominate himself and three confederates to the big biotech's board, all while castigating its management--and CEO Henri Termeer (photo) in particular--as Keystone cops who should be handed their walking papers. That would leave Icahn in charge, able to install new management and sell the company--making off with a fresh fortune, as he did with ImClone.
"It's time for a shakeup," Genzyme investor Michael Obuchowski declares to Bloomberg after the FDA action surfaced. And with Genzyme's shares sliding, Obuchowski was joined by other investors fed up by the seemingly unending bad news that has plagued the company's manufacturing ops.
"Hard to see incumbent management surviving this blow," Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Geoffrey Porges tells Bloomberg. And the New York Times' Andrew Pollack concludes that the FDA action showed that the agency has "lost confidence in the company's ability to run its factories without supervision."
Termeer, of course, won't go quietly. He used a conference call to underscore how important it is for the company to get the market resupplied with its therapies. Until now, he's gained considerable support for his plan to stick it out and survive the worst crisis in his 25-year tenure at Genzyme. It won't take too long to see if yesterday's action amounted to one too many black marks among the financial supporters who matter the most.