Genzyme Corporation has announced that it has substantially strengthened its global infrastructure for manufacturing and product development through four major expansion projects in Belgium, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
The expanded facilities officially opened this week will support Genzyme's continued growth and innovation, particularly in the areas of antibody and protein-based medicines.
Together the projects represent capital investments of $500 million over several years, a significant portion of which has already occurred.
The facilities include a bio-manufacturing plant in Geel, Belgium for the production of monoclonal antibodies and proteins; expansion of Genzyme's manufacturing centers in Waterford, Ireland and Haverhill, UK; and creation of an antibody discovery research facility in Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Genzyme also announced that in addition to producing humanized monoclonal antibodies at its Geel plant, this facility will be used to meet the anticipated demand for Myozyme® (alglucosidase alfa).
Production in Geel will augment that at Genzyme's protein manufacturing facility in Boston (Allston), Massachusetts.
"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to further deepen our presence in the European medical and biotechnology community, which has been an important part of Genzyme's growth since our earliest days," said Henri A. Termeer, chairman and chief executive officer, Genzyme Corporation.
"As our presence in Europe has grown, so has our ability to serve the needs of patients throughout the world, using a variety of approaches to address a broad range of serious diseases."
According to Genzyme, the addition of protein manufacturing capabilities in Geel will help ensure that Genzyme is able to meet the anticipated demand for Myozyme in Europe and throughout the world.
Expansion in Waterford, Ireland will make this facility the major European production and distribution center for a broad range of Genzyme products.
The latest expansion at Waterford adds a high-quality biological fill/finish center to support the growth of protein and antibody products manufactured at other Genzyme facilities.
It will be the European fill/finish center for Genzyme's enzyme replacement therapies for rare genetic diseases, and for Thymoglobulin® (anti-thymocyte globulin) for the treatment of acute rejection in patients with a kidney transplant.
Genzyme's discovery laboratory outside of the United States will bring it into close proximity to renowned academic institutions, a cluster of nearly 200 biotechnology companies, and a large pool of world-class scientific talent.
Genzyme's work at this site focuses primarily on the application of antibody technology to oncology, renal disease and immune-mediated diseases, and is complemented by an existing partnership with Cambridge Antibody Technology to develop recombinant anti-TGF beta antibodies in immune diseases.
Genzyme's Haverhill, UK plant, which was significantly expanded in recent years to produce bulk sevelamer hydrochloride for Renagel, is being further expanded to support clinical development of a wide range of potential therapies, including sevelamer carbonate for chronic kidney disease, and Tolevamer for Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea.