Genzyme recruits star players to calm rattled investors

With new competition breathing down its neck and bad press blackening its eye, Genzyme is pulling out all the stops to calm rattled investors. On Thursday, with its stock scraping lows not seen since 2004, the company sent out a letter to shareholders promising that it is getting back on track. And Genzyme has been recruiting some industry stars to head up key areas.

Genzyme recruited Robert Bertolini, the former CFO at Schering-Plough, to the board. Other new hires include Serono's Pamela Williamson as regulatory chief, Novartis' Ulrich Goldmann as senior vice president of global medical affairs, Pfizer's Andrew Lee to head up clinical research and Michael Panzara from Biogen Idec to head up multiple sclerosis and immune diseases.

"This year has been the most challenging one in our 28-year history due to setbacks in our manufacturing operations," states the letter, which is signed by Chief Executive Henri Termeer (photo) and Robert Carpenter, Genzyme's lead independent director. But the letter vows that new safeguards can prevent a repeat of the viral contamination that temporarily shuttered a key manufacturing facility.

- read the letter to shareholders (.pdf)
- check out the report from Dow Jones
here's the report from the Boston Globe