Sanofi blueprints Boston R&D Hub in scramble to absorb Genzyme

Pharma giant Sanofi has laid out blueprints for its new Boston R&D Hub, with a special level reserved for the Genzyme R&D Center in Framingham. Speaking with an anxious crowd of Genzyme employees, their new CEO--Sanofi chief Chris Viehbacher--made it clear that the rare disease operation would be given a premier spot in its R&D plans, according to a report by the Boston Globe's Robert Weisman. And part of the R&D reshuffling will shift a Sanofi MS program under the Genzyme R&D wing.

"The number one question [was], ‘What's happening to me?'" said Viehbacher. "And you can never answer that question fast enough. Our commitment is to try to come to these integration decisions at a 10,000-person organization across 80 countries in 90 days. Now for most people, they'll still see that as slow. But I can tell you that pretty much sets speed records.''

As the Globe first reported, Sanofi has already made clear that Genzyme will continue with its work on rare diseases, MS and genetic health. And Sanofi plans to add some 50 jobs to help beef up its staff at Genzyme's genetic health and MS ops. Other units for areas such as oncology and biosurgery are slated to be absorbed by other segments of Sanofi's business.

Viehbacher was speaking at Genzyme's HQ at Kendall Square, the biotech hot spot in the Boston metro area. Just yesterday the world renowned Broad Institute laid out its blueprints for a 250,000 square foot addition in Kendall Square, adding to its research space in the neighborhood. That new research facility will break ground next year and open in 2014. And George Scangos, the new CEO at Biogen Idec, has made no secret of his own interest in moving the company HQ back to Kendall Square, where he can be closer to R&D.

- read the story from the Boston Globe on Sanofi's plans
- here's the article from citybiz on the Broad Institute's big expansion plans