Skip to Content

Genzyme Adds Fenton To Board, Expands to 11

Associated Press - Jun. 07, 2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Biotechnology company Genzyme Corp. said Monday it nominated Dennis Fenton for the board of directors, expanding to 11 members.

Fenton, 58, was executive vice president of operations at Amgen Inc. when he retired from that biotech company in 2008. The company said the nomination fulfills the commitment it made as part of a deal in April with Relational Investors LLC. The deal included nominating an independent director recommended by Relational.

In April, the company elected Ralph Whitworth, 54, to the board of directors as part of that deal with Relational Investors. He is the principal and co-founder of Relational, which is a $6 billion private investment fund and one of Genzyme's largest shareholders.

Amgen made a series personnel changes following manufacturing problems dating back to June that caused a plant shutdown in its Allston facility, located in Boston. It shut down the plant for about three months to clean up viral contamination which slowed down production of key drugs Cerezyme and Fabrazyme.

Then in November, the FDA said it found tiny particles of trash, including steel, rubber, and fiber in several drugs.

In May, the company said it would pay a $175 million penalty for the manufacturing problems.

Cerezyme treats Gaucher disease, an enzyme disorder that can result in liver and neurological problems, while Fabrazyme treats an inherited disorder known as Fabry disease, which is caused by the buildup of a particular type of fat in the body's cells.

Since the manufacturing problems surfaced, the company has named a new president of global manufacturing and corporate operations, along with a senior vice president of global product quality. It also contracted out manufacturing for some of its key products to Hospira Inc.

In March the company named David Meeker to the newly created position of chief operating officer.

The annual meeting is scheduled for June 16 as activist investor Carl Icahn attempts to gain control of the board. He intends to nominate himself and three others.


Posted: June 2010