Genzyme strengthens its gene therapy program
has strengthened and diversified its ability to develop gene
therapy products that use either adenovirus or adeno-associated
In December, the company bought extensive gene therapy assets from US company Avigen for $12m (€10 m), including patents focusing on adeno-associated virus technology; a phase I/II clinical development program in Parkinson's disease; and a clinical collaboration in haemophilia.
In November, >Genzyme, one of the world's leading biotechnology companies, also paid $3.2 m to acquire the viral manufacturing facilities from US company Cell Genesys.
Genzyme plans to use the acquired assets and the new facilities to support its existing gene therapy research and clinical trials, and to broaden its manufacturing capabilities in both adenovirus and adeno-associated virus vectors, which are used to deliver genes to the appropriate cells in patients.
"We also look forward to advancing Avigen's ongoing work in Parkinson's disease and haemophilia, areas where we believe gene therapy could play a meaningful role in treatment," said Rich Gregory, Genzyme's head of research.
Genzyme, now involved in licensing deals and implementing risk management solutions with most of big pharma, is expected to continue to play a leading role in the biotechnology market.
In the wake of a number of large-scale investments in biological drugs production capacity, from the likes of Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb, the company opened four new European facilities in September as part of an investment package expected to cost $540m.
This series of openings saw Genzyme become one of the largest biotechnolgy operations in Europe, with over 2,000 staff.