Report: Genzyme moves closer to launching buyout talks

Maybe the holiday spirit is opening hearts with tidings of great joy in the Genzyme ($GENZ) board room. The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the biotech is "displaying a new willingness to talk" to Sanofi ($SNY), especially as no new suitors have shown up at the door. And its insiders report that if advisers for Genzyme and Sanofi can find some common ground on a price as well as a contingent value right package on its experimental drugs, formal talks could follow.

All the same hurdles remain, of course. Genzyme management says the $69 per share offer is ridiculously low. And Sanofi is low-balling the value of the MS drug Campath while Genzyme thinks it can achieve mega blockbuster status. Genzyme CEO Henri Termeer underscored just how far the two companies are on Campath just a few days ago, when he reiterated that it has the potential to earn $3.5 billion a year.

"This is a unique therapy," Termeer told investors. "It is not a pill on a shelf. It is a therapy that changes the standard of care of the (MS) patients... The market is very large. It is a $14 billion market when we get there."

So for now the official position is bah, humbug and let's hope for a happy M&A deal to start the New Year.

- here's the WSJ article