Genzyme sells genetics testing unit for $925M, cuts 1k jobs

Genzyme has announced that LabCorp will purchase Genzyme Genetics, the company's reproductive and oncology testing unit, for $925 million. LabCorp, which says it's committed to keeping the unit's 1,900 employees after the deal is done, gains all of Genzyme Genetics' services, technology, intellectual property rights and its nine testing laboratories.

The sale is part of a plan announced earlier this year in which Genzyme will divest itself of three units to focus on its core business. Faced with a series of manufacturing blunders, the biotech said in May that it would sell the three units and buy back $2 billion worth of its stock in 2011. Genzyme says its still on track with plans to offload its Diagnostic Products and Pharmaceutical intermediates units.

Additionally, late Friday Genzyme revealed that it's going to cut 10 percent of its 12,800-employee work force by 2012. "The recent takeover proposal reinforces how important it is to take control and maximize the value we bring to patients and shareholders," CEO Henri Termeer wrote in a memo to employees, the Boston Herald reports. A Genzyme spokesperson confirmed that the company is cutting jobs and said further details would be revealed this week. The spokesperson added that Genzyme would be cutting jobs even if it wasn't involved in takeover talks with Sanofi-Aventis.

Speaking of Sanofi, Bloomberg is reporting that the French drugmaker is lining up $10 billion in loans to support its $18.5 billion bid for Genzyme. JPMorgan Chase, BNP Paribas and Societe Generale are financing the loans. In July the drugmaker got €7 billion ($8.9 billion) of credit lines from 16 banks to refinance its current debt, which stood at €8.8 billion at the end of 2009.

- check out Genzyme's release on the LabCorp sale
- see the Boston Herald story on the layoffs
- read the Bloomberg report on Sanofi's loans