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The Poop On Genzyme

Thursday, 17 Dec 2009 | 10:32 AM ET

I went to the beleaguered Genzyme manufacturing plant in Allston, MA yesterday to get briefed on what exactly happened/is happening there for background ahead of my interview today with the CEO.

It's always valuable and informative to get to see things with your own eyes and get the company's take face-to-face rather than in a press release. I just think Genzyme should've opened its doors a lot sooner.

AP

I got to see the two bioreactors where the infamous viral infection occurred. All six tanks at the plant have since been cleaned and refurbished.

One thing I didn't get to see, but wish I had seen, are the plastic coyotes. Wha?! Yep. The fake coyotes.

Apparently there's a pack of 'em hanging out on the lawn on one side of the Allston plant. They put them there to try to keep away geese and their poop. Our Massachusetts-based cameraman spilled the beans about them saying he often does a double-take when driving past the property in the middle of urban Boston.

I couldn't check them out for myself, though, because the lawn where they're perched is obscured right now by a nylon construction fence (they're building an addition for office space and storage.)

Geese and coyotes weren't the only animals that came up during the briefing. Genzyme believes the source of the viral contamination might have been animal-derived raw materials (serum) used in the drugmaking process.

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Believe it or not they would've come from cows in New Zealand where Genzyme employees have traveled as part of their investigation. But officials acknowledge they may never be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.

One thing they can say for certain and have officially confirmed for CNBC is that the fake coyotes are for real.

Questions? Comments? Pharma@cnbc.com and follow me on Twitter at mhuckman