PARIS Genzyme GENZ.O, resisting a hostile bid from Sanofi-Aventis (SASY.PA), is open to a deal that links its value to the success of key drug Campath, the U.S. biotech's chief executive was quoted as saying.
But it was not up to Genzyme to suggest that to the French drugmaker, which has launched a $18.5 billion takeover offer for Genzyme, Chief Executive Henri Termeer was quoted as saying in French newspaper Le Figaro.
"This is one of the alternatives that could be explored. We are thinking about it with regard to the Campath molecule. This could be used by Sanofi or by other companies we talk to," Termeer told the newspaper in an interview.
"It is a means commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry when companies cannot manage to agree on a price," he said.
Termeer declined to give details of any talks with other potential buyers, saying they were "private conversations." Sanofi declined to comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported this month that Genzyme was considering a new deal structure that Sanofi has said it would be open to. It said Genzyme was considering the use of so-called contingent value rights giving shareholders more value if the acquired company hit benchmarks.
Genzyme has defended its peak sales forecast for Campath, an experimental multiple sclerosis drug, of up to $3.5 billion after Sanofi-Aventis SA (SASY.PA) called the estimate was "unrealistic.
Termeer reiterated in Friday's Le Figaro interview that price was his only reason for fending off Sanofi's takeover attempt. He said Sanofi had "no chance" of success with its current $69 per share bid.
The stock closed at $71.81 before Thursday's U.S. Thanksgiving holiday.
"The price of $69 per share is not acceptable for Genzyme's board. Today we have no starting point, nothing that allows us to begin discussions," Termeer said.
Termeer added that he met Sanofi Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher regularly at industry events, where relations were "courteous" and the two did not discuss the ongoing bid.
By 1025 GMT Sanofi shares were 1.4 percent lower at 47.865 euros, in line with the CAC-40 index .FCHI but lagging a marginally easier STOXX European drugs sector index .SXDP.
(Reporting by Helen Massy-Beresford; Additional Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Dan Lalor and Michael Shields)