Workers at Sanofi had a message for politicians at protests in Paris this month: Job cuts by the nation’s biggest drugmaker are crushing morale among researchers and hurting the company’s ability to develop new products.
Chief Executive Officer Chris Viehbacher is unswayed by those arguments. Buying Genzyme Corp. for $20.1 billion last year inspired him to refashion Sanofi in the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company’s image, a project he is pursuing at full bore. He has organized scientists into “hubs” to open up research among teams and academia and sprinkled the company’s new Paris headquarters with coffee bars where workers can mingle, ideas both influenced by Genzyme. He chose Genzyme executives to run the Boston R&D hub and Sanofi’s U.S. business development. His daughter is even interning at Genzyme.