Genzyme Corporation
usinfo | 2012-12-21 13:22
Genzyme Corporation is a fully owned subsidiary of Sanofi. Before its acquisition in 2011, Genzyme was an American biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2010, Genzyme was the world’s third-largest biotechnology company, employing more than 11,000 people around the world. As a subsidiary of Sanofi-Aventis, Genzyme has a presence in approximately 40 countries, including 17 manufacturing facilities and 9 genetic-testing laboratories, its products are sold in 90 countries. In 2007, Genzyme generated $3.8 billion in revenues with more than 25 products in the market. In 2006 and 2007 Genzyme was named one of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work for”. The company donated $83 million worth of products worldwide; in 2006, it made $11 million in cash donations. In 2005, Genzyme was awarded the National Medal of Technology, the highest level of honor awarded by the president of the United States to America’s leading innovators.
The company was started by Sheridan Snyder, George M. Whitesides and scientist Henry Blair in 1981 and is primarily devoted to finding drugs that would cure enzyme deficiency conditions that were essential to human survival and which usually afflict a very small percentage of the world’s population. Drugs used to treat such conditions are considered to be “orphan drugs.” In 1986, the company went public, raising $27 million.
Genzyme acquired several of Impath's laboratories and cancer-testing technologies in May 2004, after Impath sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Genzyme focuses on six areas of medicine relating to lysosomal storage diseases, renal disease, orthopedics, transplant and immune diseases, oncology, genetics and diagnostics. The first orphan-drug for Genzyme that FDA approved was Ceredase, a drug for treating Gaucher disease. Ceredase was eventually replaced by Cerezyme, which, at a cost of $200,000 per patient annually for life, currently accounts for approximately 30% of Genzyme's revenue. Other important drugs made by Genzyme are Renagel, used in treatment of dialysis patients, and Fabrazyme, used to treat patients with Fabry's disease. Other products in development are Tolevamer for Clostridium difficile colitis disease and Campath for Chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Genzyme had a sub-license from Bioenvision to market clofarabine in North America. On May 29, 2007 Genzyme made a tender offer to purchase Bioenvision for $5.60 per share. On October 27, 2007, a majority of shareholders voted to approve Genzyme's acquisition. In 2007, CEO, President, and Board Chairman Henri Termeer, earned a salary of $2.5 million, and non-cash compensation worth $129 million.
In 2010, Genzyme launched a kidney medication for the Irish market from its Waterford base which it had set up nine years previously.
Contamination incidents
In June 2009, Genzyme's Allston, Massachusetts plant was shut down to correct a viral contamination (Vesivirus 2117). A similar event had occurred in 2008 at the Geel, Belgium facilities. By April 2010 it had restarted operation at diminished capacity.
In November 2009, fragments of stainless steel, rubber, and fiber-like material were discovered in some of Genzyme's drugs. The FDA found these materials in Cerezyme, Genzyme's treatment for Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder that can lead to life-threatening organ damage. The FDA is permitting the drug to stay in the market, due to a lack of adverse events, and a critical need for the product.
Supplies of Fabrazyme, Genzyme's treatment for Fabry disease, have been rationed to one-third the recommended dose prompting patients to file a petition asking for a license to produce Fabrazyme by other manufacturers to make up the deficit under the Bayh–Dole Act.
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