About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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February 16, 2011

The Key Player in the Sanofi-Genzyme Deal Speaks Out

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Posted by Derek

In light of the two companies reaching an agreement on price yesterday afternoon, a behind-the-scenes participant in the deal asked people to remember what set the whole process in motion.

"If it weren't for me, this never would have gotten off the ground", claimed Vesivirus 2117. "Moving into that facility in Allston was the step that made it all possible", the virus claimed. "Does anyone think that Genzyme wouldn't just be humming along as before if it weren't for me? The stock price, the confidence of the shareholders - all that went down through my efforts, and I just want to make sure that credit is given where it's due".

The virus, which is not known to infect humans, pointed out that you don't have to directly invade the human body to affect human affairs. "Subtlety, that's the thing," the organism stated. "You come in through the front door - nose, mouth, whatever - with all your guns blazing, and sure, you get the press, the headlines. But right from the start, they're trying to bring you down. Now, infecting cell cultures, there's no immune system to worry about, and if they've never seen you before, well, no one knows you're there. Until you're really, really there, if you know what I mean."

The virus went on to say that its tenacity was just as crucial as its element of surprise. "They're been cleaning the place out for a year now", it said with satisfaction. "And are they sure that they've gotten rid of me? Is the FDA sure? I think not." Vesivirus 2117 said that it welcomed the chance to work with whoever Sanofi-Aventis assigned to its area. "Viruses, you know, we're international. Bonjour!"

Comments (21) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. David Formerly Known as a Chemist on February 16, 2011 10:55 AM writes...

LOL, clever post Derek. C'est tres bien!

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2. Hap on February 16, 2011 10:57 AM writes...

I guess "speaks out" is in a manner of speaking.

I wonder if that's a new job market for laid-off pharma chemists - how do you get a job as a spokesman/spokeswoman for a virus? What are the qualifications? How do you get paid?

If turns out to be a trend, I'm sure that a lot of countries having a difficult time holding on to chemists and biologists will have a powerful recruiting tool.

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3. Sam Weller on February 16, 2011 11:11 AM writes...

Hmmm. Makes you wonder whether the viral contamination might have been deliberate, or at least whether a sabotage of this sort is so far fetched in current days cutthroat business environment.

Great post!

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4. Dennis on February 16, 2011 11:16 AM writes...

Before I comment further, are we ABSOLUTELY SURE that the virus wasn't being sarcastic or being quoted out of context?

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5. ppp on February 16, 2011 11:47 AM writes...

Nice comment Derek, very funny! Why not asking Hoffmann to write a play on it?

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6. AKS on February 16, 2011 11:48 AM writes...

Hmm, interesting idea poster 3, a possible case of industrial sabotage. Perchance was the contaminant virus a skunk virus:

Its all starting to make sense now! :)

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7. HelicalZz on February 16, 2011 12:05 PM writes...

I kind of feel bad for the virus, which must now be translated into both protein .. and French.


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8. milkshake on February 16, 2011 12:15 PM writes...

Are you sure that Vesivirus 2117 was not written by a team of Zionists trying to derail peaceful uranium enrichment?

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9. daen on February 16, 2011 12:46 PM writes...

You know, one day, Derek, you should gather these posts into a book. Apart from me, a number of people I know would happily part with ready cash for your writings. You are quite the Verity Stob of drug discovery sometimes ...

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10. DannoH on February 16, 2011 1:18 PM writes...

Lets not forget the role played by stainless steel and rubber particulate foreign matter in the acquisition!

"Just put a 0.22um filter in with the syringes; its all good."

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11. pete on February 16, 2011 2:14 PM writes...

Thought-provoking POV on the matter.

But fear not for the future -- s-a has promised to Pasteur-ize the premises

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12. barry on February 16, 2011 2:19 PM writes...

periodically, someone gets excited about producing meat in tissue culture to dodge the ethical issues of raising and killing animals. Few really appreciate what a great thing an immune system is.


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13. daen on February 16, 2011 2:36 PM writes...

I have an historical interest in this deal, as I used to work at the old Roussel Uclaf plant at Romainville in Paris, now home to the Paris branch of Galapagos NV. The stables where the mares used to be housed are still there, albeit disused and overgrown now.

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14. JasonP on February 16, 2011 3:24 PM writes...


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15. Hap on February 16, 2011 3:25 PM writes...

Has Vesivirus 2117 considered pharma management? I'm pretty sure stockholders could get just a good a deal with 2117 running the show, and he's a whole lot cheaper.

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16. CMCguy on February 16, 2011 3:28 PM writes...

The link to Vesivirus 2117 indicates origin of the sample in the paper was from a German company and the mention of Pastuer, another point of potential S-A connectivity, makes one suspect a grand conspiracy is afoot and SEC should investigate before approving the acquisition.

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17. assay guy on February 16, 2011 3:41 PM writes...

Vesivirus and particulates in product vials were symptoms of a much grander malady - senior executives who had lost touch (or never had it) and let the ship sail without a tiller.

Now we'll see how s-a views the "entrepreneurial environment" of Genzyme R&D when they come in and see the chaos for themselves.

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18. DCRogers on February 16, 2011 5:16 PM writes...

As a survivor of multiple mergers/acquisitions myself, Sanofi-Aventis's promise the leave Genzyme alone because they so respect their productive research culture rings particularly hollow.

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19. nanostring on February 16, 2011 7:17 PM writes...

"The stock price, the confidence of the shareholders - all that went down through my efforts"

What a pathetic effort to hog credit! Senior management is more than capable of screwing things all by themselves!

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20. DannoH on February 17, 2011 10:38 AM writes...

This arrived in my mail this morning:

Uh oh Derek; even the rags of pharma are starting to link to you. Any publicity is good publicity yes?

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21. Rich Rostrom on February 18, 2011 4:40 AM writes...

I notice you say "the virus". It somehow does feel right to refer to the species as a single entity., where it wouldn't if one one was speaking of, say, lab rats. "The bacterium" or "the fungus", also, but not "the frog" or "the beetle".

Maybe "the tapeworm"?

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