Genzyme to Let Diagnostics Unit Loose for $265M

Xconomy Boston — 

Genzyme’s sales of non-core businesses continues. The Cambridge, MA-based biotech company (NASDAQ:GENZ) said this morning that it has agreed to sell its diagnostic products business to Japan’s Sekisui Chemical for $265 million in cash. The deal takes Genzyme, the world’s largest provider of drugs for rare genetic diseases, a step further in sharpening its focus as it fights off an unsolicited takeover bid from the French drug giant Sanofi-Aventis.

Sekisui, which is expected to close on its purchase by the end of this year, is offering jobs to the some 575 employees of the Genzyme diagnostics business—which has operations in Framingham, MA, San Diego, and at least four other locations, according to Sekisui. The diagnostics business, which brought in $167 million in 2009 revenue, sells raw materials and other products for the cardiovascular, diabetes, infectious disease, and renal health markets.

Genzyme announced in May that it planned to sell off its diagnostics business and two others as part of a plan to raise shareholder value. In September, the 29-year-old company sold its genetic testing business to Burlington, NC-based Laboratory Corporation of America (NYSE:LH) for $925 million. Genzyme still has one of the three businesses, its pharmaceutical ingredients unit, on the block. The company says it might use proceeds from these transactions to finance the second half of its $2 billion stock buyback, which was also announced in May.

Genzyme’s stock closed at $69.75 on Wednesday, November 17.