Genzyme ($GENZ) restructuring moves forward with sale of diagnostic ops

It's two down and one to go for Genzyme's ($GENZ) restructuring crew. The Boston biotech announced some months ago that it planned to shed several big divisions as it focused on what it does best: Develop and sell therapies for rare diseases. Today the biotech announced that Japan's Sekisui Chemical agreed to pay $265 million in cash for its diagnostic product division. And the sale gives Genzyme one more reason to demand more than the $18.5 billion it's already been offered by Sanofi-Aventis ($SNY).

Laboratory Corp. of America got the buyouts going for Genzyme earlier this year when it agreed to pay $925 million for the biotech's genetic testing division. Genzyme's diagnostics business provides raw materials and enzymes, clinical chemistry reagents, rapid tests and infectious disease products to manufacturers, clinical laboratories, distributors and health care providers. And now that a buyer has been lined up, Genzyme is down to just one last auction for its pharmaceuticals business unit.

"Genzyme Diagnostics has worked with Sekisui as a valued partner for more than 15 years," said Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer. "This history ensures a level of continuity that will greatly benefit employees and customers. I am confident that Sekisui is the right strategic partner for Genzyme Diagnostics, and that in Sekisui's hands the business will continue to grow."

Genzyme launched the sell-off as it struggled to beat back critics who blasted the company after regulators blasted Genzyme for the quality problems afflicting its Allston plant. And those issues still plague the company. Just today OrbiMed Advisors noted that Genzyme's decision to wait for a higher bid for the company faced added risks due to its manufacturing woes.

- read the Genzyme release
- here's the Bloomberg story on the OrbiMed comments