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UPDATE 1-Sanofi CEO interested in emerging-market deals
March 6, 2012 / 9:26 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-Sanofi CEO interested in emerging-market deals

* Sanofi unlikely to bid for Pfizer animal unit

* To resume full shipments of Fabrazyme to Europe by mid-year

By Scott Malone

BOSTON, March 6 (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi SA is interested in doing more acquisitions in emerging markets and will “probably not” be a bidder for Pfizer Inc’s animal-health business, said Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher.

“We’ll continue to acquire in emerging markets because Sanofi has got a lot more advantage in that area,” Viehbacher told reporters after speaking to the Boston College Chief Executives’ Club. “We have an ability to acquire and integrate.”

Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, has said it is interested in selling or spinning off its animal-health and nutrition businesses. While Sanofi has expressed interest in the animal health area among other possible investments, Viehbacher said a Sanofi-Pfizer animal deal could raise antitrust concerns.

“I‘m going to be looking at things that are smaller,” Viehbacher said. In April, his company closed a $20.1 billion takeover of Genzyme, but that deal was an out-of-the-ordinary move for the company, he said.

After resuming shipments of the rare disease drug Fabrazyme from its Genzyme unit’s plant in Framingham, Massachusetts, last week, the company expects to resume supplying European patients with full doses of the drug by “about mid-year,” Viehbacher said.

“There are clearly some patients who need the full dose of Fabrazyme and so there’s been a waiting list in Europe to get our product, and so we’re starting to help patients on that waiting list,” Viehbacher said.

The drug treats a rare, inherited condition called Fabry disease, in which excessive fat builds up in organs and tissues.

Viehbacher, who holds German and Canadian citizenship and also serves as chairman of the U.S. drug industry’s leading lobbying group the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, also warned that cuts to the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) could take a heavy toll on both the drug industry and the U.S. economy.

“I don’t think there’s enough appreciation in the United States about what a jewel the NIH is,” he said. “It’s fundamentally important to health everywhere in the world that the NIH be properly funded.”

The White House’s most recent budget proposal, for fiscal 2013, proposes holding the NIH’s budget flat, though some in the healthy industry see it as vulnerable to cuts given the nation’s ongoing deficit woes.

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