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Carroll School of Management

Christopher A. Viehbacher

Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi, and Chairman, Genzyme Corporation

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston 

March 6, 2012


Now the other reason I think it’s extremely appropriate to talk about innovation is that I think probably the most fertile ground in the world today is right here in the Boston-Cambridge area. And that is why we actually decided to make the significant investment in Genzyme. We had already moved our oncology research and development here, largely because of the presence of great institutions like Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber. We have a lot of academic and biotech relationships here.

But I think that you are not going to find a greater concentration within a five-mile radius of biotech companies, universities, hospitals, [and] venture capital in such proximity. And in some ways, one of the things that still encourages me about Boston-Cambridge is that the personal contact in innovation is still important. In a world of Facebook and Twitter and e-mail, you still can't completely eliminate that person-to-person contact, which is encouraging for those of us who believe in the wonders of life.