Lampert sets off GENZ, CGNE

Genzyme Corp. and Calgene Inc. responded sharply to an interview in Barron's with Mark Lampert, manager of the Biotechnology Value Fund, after Lampert cited both companies as examples of stocks to short. GENZ and CGNE share pricess both fell, with GENZ losing $1 to $38.25 in the week, while CGNE shed 50 cents to $6 on sharply higher volume.


In his critique of GENZ, Lampert said the Cambridge, Mass., company's revenue stream from Ceredase/Cerezyme for Gaucher disease is vulnerable based on what he said is mounting evidence that the drug works at a quarter the current dose. He also expressed doubt that the company's HAL hyaluronic acid products in development will garner significant sales: he said the market would more likely be $30 million than $500 million. His third criticism related to the impact on earnings of pending dilution of the stock by conversions of two off balance sheet financing vehicles.

GENZ responded that Ceredase/Cerezyme sales are on track to exceed $200 million this year, with an expected sales plateau of $250 million. Patients spend $150,000 per year on the drug, receiving an average dose of 60 units per kilogram per month. Although GENZ had hoped that dosages could be lowered significantly, to the 15 units/kg/month Lampert suggested, spokesperson Stephen Push said that has proven to be unrealistic because the lower doses don't work in many patients. In March, a National Institutes of Health panel agreed with GENZ's position that treatment has to be tailored to each patient.