Sanofi offers Genzyme execs retention bonuses, green light for R&D

Sanofi-Aventis CEO Chris Viehbacher is leaving no doubts about his ambitious R&D plans for Genzyme. Anxious to avoid a flight of top scientists, Viehbacher tells the Wall Street Journal that he's offering retention bonuses to keep top hands on board. And he's making a weekly trip to Cambridge, MA to emphasize his sincerity. "If you're in a company that has been independent for years, one of the original biotech companies, and you've just been acquired by a big multinational, you're going to have some uncertainty," Viehbacher said in an interview. "So our decision to move R&D projects forward I think has been appreciated." There's no word yet on who's staying, including the plans of CSO Alan Smith. Viehbacher would clearly love to avoid the brain drain that hit Genentech after that big biotech was bought out by Roche. He's emphasized a number of times that he wants the new subsidiary to continue adding treatments to Sanofi's pipeline, adding R&D cash to push forward on a number of development programs. Story