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Genzyme Breaks a Biotech Taboo: The Hostile Bid For AnorMED

Executive Summary

In late August, Genzyme launched a hostile bid for AnorMED, a Canadian biotech with an unpartnered stem cell mobilizer called MOZOBIL currently in Phase III clinical trials. When Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped in with a higher offer, it set off a bidding war that has been dubbed "The battle of Boston". Ultimately, Genzyme prevailed, but in deciding to go directly to AnorMED's shareholders with its bid, that company's management broke one of the last taboos of biotech M&A. The move illustrates business development execs' desperate need to nab suitable assets that might help cure pipeline woes. Indeed, it appears unencumbered late stage assets are now so rare that their value may exceed estimates ascribed by the market; and this is true even if the people working on that asset are lost, as typically occurs following unsolicited offers.

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