Post-merger Genzyme opens up the throttle on R&D plans

Genzyme immune-disease chief Dr. Michael Panzara patiently guided the Financial Times through a detailed review of the company's development plans for the MS drug Campath, adding in an interesting aside that the newly acquired Sanofi subsidiary is pushing ahead into a new round of development pacts.

Recruited from Biogen Idec 18 months ago--as the biotech pushed ahead with its own plans for the MS drug BG-12--Panzara says he was given a mandate to build an MS franchise at Genzyme. And he's pursuing plans now to marshal data from one Phase II and two late-stage studies of Campath to back their application for Campath.

Biogen has big plans for BG-12, which is slated to compete with Novartis's Gilenya, a pioneering oral therapy. Genzyme, meanwhile, plans to position Campath with a biomarker program expected to flag patients who can be safely treated with the drug.

According to the Financial Times, the integration of the company with Sanofi's global operations will not even put a crimp in its in-licensing and external business development plans. "If it's the right fit, the merger will not stand in the way. It's business as usual at Genzyme," Panzara told the financial newspaper.

Panzara also notes that the Sanofi's $20 billion buyout gives Genzyme investigators unique access to the pharma giant's pipeline programs, noting a particular interest in exploring how Campath could work with Sanofi's late-stage drug teriflunomide.

- here's the article from the Financial Times