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Healthcare

Genzyme chief says could step down next year - FT

LONDON, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Genzyme GENZ.O's chief executive Henri Termeer said he could step down next summer in an interview with the Financial Times published on Wednesday.

Termeer was quoted as saying he would be ready to retire following confirmation of late-stage trial results for the company’s Campath multiple sclerosis drug that are due in mid-2011.

Termeer also indicated a greater openness to a takeover by French pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis SASY.PA, according to the FT.

Last month, Genzyme rejected Sanofi’s $69 per share offer as dramatically undervaluing the U.S. company and not a bid that justified entering merger talks. [ID:nLDE68Q0BV]

Sources previously told Reuters that Genzyme sought an offer of at least $75 per share before Sanofi could review its books, while some investors want $80 a share in a deal.

Sanofi wants to buy Genzyme, a leading maker of drugs for rare diseases, to fuel growth as some of its key treatments lose patent protection.

“I’m not in any way offended (by the Sanofi-Aventis bid). They have to recognise our value rather than be opportunistic,” Termeer told the FT.

The board had held no discussions with an alternative “white knight” buyer, he added.

“The company is recovering in a significant way, and pulling in value.” (Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Valerie Lee) ((karolina.tagaris@thomsonreuters.com; +44 207 542 4878))

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