Live

Watch CBSN Live

Genzyme Lab Recognized for Quality. Yes, Really.

Genzyme (GENZ) investors might be forgiven for doing a double-take last week when they saw the following headline: Genzyme Laboratory Recognized for Quality.

After all, the words "Genzyme" and "quality" aren't often seen in close quarters these days, not unless the sentence also includes words like "abysmal" or "fiasco."

To recap, problems at Genzyme's Allston Landing manufacturing plant -- first with viral contamination and later with bits of garbage somehow making it into drug vials -- have battered the big biotech's stock and blackened its eyes. The contamination issues have led to shortages of Gaucher's disease drug Cerezyme (imiglucerase) and Fabry disease drug Fabrazyme (agalsidase beta), allowed competitors to penetrate what was once a Genzyme monopoly in Gaucher's, and resulted in FDA rejection of Pompe disease drug Lumizyme (alglucosidase alfa). Henri Termeer has been called the worst biotech CEO of the year, and activist investor Carl Icahn has increased his stake in the now-troubled company.

Which is why it was ironic to see Genzyme patting itself on the back with a press release about a quality award.

To be fair, the award had nothing to do with the Allston manufacturing plant. Genzyme's genetic testing laboratory in Phoenix, Arizona gained accreditation from the College of American Pathologists. It's apparently the first commercial genetic testing facility to achieve those honors, which are based on technical competence and quality management.

According to the release:

"Achieving this accreditation demonstrates our commitment to achieving superior quality standards and delivering overall operational excellence," said Jon Hart, senior vice president and general manager of Genzyme Genetics.
Well, at least someone, somewhere in the Genzyme organization is on the ball when it comes to quality. Think they're interested in a transfer to Allston?
View CBS News In