CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Genzyme Corp. (NASDAQ: GENZ) today announced that it will build an additional manufacturing plant in Geel, Belgium, to support the long-term growth of Myozyme® and Lumizyme® for Pompe disease. The company held a ceremony today in Geel to mark the start of construction of the new €250 million plant, which will include 8,000 liters of production capacity, a complete purification installation, and ample room for additional future capacity expansions. Commercial approvals for the new site are expected to start late 2014.
Genzyme currently produces Myozyme and Lumizyme at an adjacent plant in Geel, where it is increasing production capacity to 12,000 liters with the addition of a third bioreactor scheduled for approval by the end of this year. Genzyme is also continuing its 160 L production in the U.S. for patients with infantile-onset Pompe disease. The investment in Geel is part the company's program to increase its overall biologics manufacturing capacity four fold. About 150 new jobs will be created as part of the expansion, bringing the total workforce at the site to nearly 600 people.
"The expansion of our Geel facility is a critical element of our manufacturing strategy and is fundamental to our mission," said Scott Canute, Genzyme's President, Global Manufacturing and Corporate Operations. "We are committed to delivering a reliable supply of high quality medicines to our patients. This investment ensures continued supply to our patients in the Pompe community for the long term."
Genzyme believes that its Pompe disease treatments represent a commercial opportunity that is comparable to that of Cerezyme for Gaucher disease. The company estimates that there are about 10,000 Pompe patients worldwide; approximately 1,400 Pompe patients are currently treated with either Myozyme or Lumizyme, which are the only treatments approved for the disease. Myozyme is currently available in 48 markets worldwide and Genzyme expects to increase this to 60 markets by the end of this year.
"Our strong track record of results, the expertise and dedication of our workforce along with the partnership with the authorities in Belgium, have been instrumental in bringing this exciting new investment to our site," said Piet Houwen, General Manager of Genzyme's Geel manufacturing site.
About Pompe Disease
Pompe disease is a progressive, debilitating and often fatal neuromuscular disease caused by a genetic deficiency or dysfunction of the lysosomal enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA). This enzymatic defect results in the accumulation of glycogen primarily in muscle tissues that leads to muscle weakness, loss of respiratory function, and often premature death. When symptoms occur in infancy, babies typically die within the first year of life. When symptoms occur in childhood or adulthood, patients typically lose their ability to walk and require wheelchairs to assist with mobility and experience difficulty breathing as well as mechanical ventilation to breathe.
About Myozyme and Lumizyme
Alglucosidase alfa, known as Lumizyme in the US and as Myozyme in the rest of the world, targets the underlying cause of Pompe disease by replacing the enzyme that is deficient. In the US, Lumizyme is indicated for patients 8 years and older with late (non-infantile) onset Pompe disease (GAA deficiency) who do not have evidence of cardiac hypertrophy. In the US, Myozyme (alglucosidase alfa) is indicated for use in patients with Pompe disease (GAA deficiency). Myozyme has been shown to improve ventilator-free survival in patients with infantile-onset Pompe disease as compared to an untreated historical control, whereas use of Myozyme in patients with other forms of Pompe disease has not been adequately studied to assure safety and efficacy. In Europe, Myozyme is indicated for infants, children and adults with Pompe disease.
One of the world's leading biotechnology companies, Genzyme is dedicated to making a major positive impact on the lives of people with serious diseases. Since 1981, the company has grown from a small start-up to a diversified enterprise with approximately 10,000 employees in locations spanning the globe.
With many established products and services helping patients in approximately 100 countries, Genzyme is a leader in the effort to develop and apply the most advanced technologies in the life sciences. The company's products and services are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant and immune disease. Genzyme's commitment to innovation continues today with a substantial development program focused on these fields, as well as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and other areas of unmet medical need.
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding Genzyme's business plans including, without limitation, statements about the expansion of manufacturing capacity for Myozyme and Lumizyme in Geel, Belgium, the timing of regulatory approvals and expectations relating to the production of Lumizyme and Myozyme. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those forecasted. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: whether Genzyme has forecasted the size of the commercial opportunity and potential product demand accurately; whether Genzyme is able to manufacture product in sufficient quantities to meet demand; whether the FDA and other regulatory authorities approve the manufacturing facilities in Geel and the timing thereof; whether regulatory approval for Myozyme is received from regulatory authorities in the expected timeframe; whether the new facility allows for additional expansion as expected; and the risks and uncertainties described in Genzyme's SEC reports filed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including the factors discussed under the caption "Risk Factors" in Genzyme's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2010. Genzyme cautions investors not to place substantial reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release and Genzyme undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements.
Genzyme® and Myozyme® are registered trademarks, and LumizymeTM is a trademark, of Genzyme Corporation or its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
Genzyme has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission a Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9 relating to the tender offer by Sanofi-Aventis. Genzyme shareholders are advised to read the company's Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9 because it contains important information. Shareholders may obtain a free copy of the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9, as well as any other documents filed by Genzyme in connection with the tender offer, free of charge at the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov. In addition, investors can obtain free copies of these documents from Genzyme by directing a request to Genzyme at 500 Kendall Street, Cambridge, MA 02142, Attention: Shareholder Relations Department, or by calling 617-252-7500 and asking for the Shareholder Relations Department.