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Genzyme Muscles Into Heart Surgery

Executive Summary

Genzyme Surgical is intent on making a name for itself in cardiac surgery, and banking on a hybrid strategy to distinguish itself from giant competitors like Medtronic and Guidant. Its plan is to combine traditional surgical instruments, from which it expects to derive most of its near-term growth, with longer-term plays in biomaterials and biotherapeutics, a strategy it calls biosurgery. As a tracking stock of Genzyme Corp., it has the advantage of being able to tap into Genzyme's deep expertise in gene and cell therapies in order to develop therapies for severe heart failure. But as it puts in place a diverse portfolio of expertise, it runs the risk of spreading itself too thin. Moreover, it faces skepticism from Wall Street and criticism that it doesn't have the critical mass to be a player in the fastest growing area of cardiac surgery--minimally invasive beating heart surgery, where it is trying to make inroads. Genzyme Surgical executives say that it is forging a new path in a field rife with tradition and that ultimately it will have more to offer cardiac surgeons than its competitors--moreover, it is not reliant upon the success of any one product.
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