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Shire executive responsible for drug-maker's Lexington campus has quietly relocated to Paris

Posted by Scott Kirsner  November 17, 2011 10:00 AM

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Sylvie Grégoire, a long-time fixture of the New England biotech scene and president of Shire's Human Genetic Therapies business in Lexington, quietly moved to Paris over the summer. Grégoire now spends about one week a month at the company's expansive research and manufacturing campus in Lexington, which is one of the state's biggest life sciences sites, with 1250 employees.

The main reason for Grégoire's move seems to have been personal: her husband, John Alam, left his job as chief medical officer at Vertex Pharmaceuticals earlier this year to run a unit of Sanofi in Paris called the "Therapeutic Strategic Area for Diseases of Aging."

But Jessica Cotrone, director of corporate communications at Shire, adds that since Grégoire is part of the senior leadership team at the company, it makes sense for her to be closer to the company's headquarters in Britain and its European hub in Nyon, Switzerland. (Shire's office in Paris is small, and primarily focused on sales and marketing.)

Cotrone says that when Grégoire isn't on-site in Lexington, Bill Ciambrone, the head of Shire's manufacturing operations there, serves as acting site head.

Last month, Shire finished its latest construction project in Lexington, a lab building at 200 Shire Way. By January, the company will have moved all of its Kendall Square employees out to Lexington, Cotrone says.

Before joining Shire, Grégoire was an executive at Biogen and Merck, and CEO of the New Hampshire start-up GlycoFi (which Merck acquired.)

Shire HGT makes drugs for rare diseases, including several which compete directly with Sanofi's Genzyme division, headquartered in Cambridge.

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Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched Boston.com in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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