Warnex wins Genzyme Canada contract for lysosomal storage disease testing

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Warnex will provide central laboratory services for Genzyme Canada as part of the US biotech’s lysosomal storage disease (LSD) testing programme in Canada.

The Quebec contract research organisation (CRO) will perform enzymatic assays on dried blood spot samples to aid the diagnosis of diseases like Fabry, Gaucher’s, Pompe and Mucopolysaccharidosis.

Warnex CEO Mark Busgang said: "We are pleased to collaborate with Genzyme to offer this program in Canada, assisting health care professionals in the diagnosis of these serious diseases.

"In the context of this program, Warnex will perform an enzymatic assay specific to each disease using dried blood spots. This method offers a simple type of sampling procedure that can be easily performed by pricking the finger and applying drops of blood to a blotting paper​."

The Genzyme contract, financial terms of which were not provided, will be an important boost for Warnex’ medical labs business which saw revenue for the nine months ended September 30, 2010​ fall 3.5 per cent to C$1.7m.

Warnex did not reply to Outsourcing-pharma.com’s request for additional information.

Rare diseases

The four illnesses Warnex will be testing for and the identification of the relatively small number of patients who suffer from them around the world are a very important part of Genzyme’s core business.

In 2010 for example, combined revenue from its LSD franchise, which comprises the four enzyme replacement drugs Fabrazyme, Cerezyme, Myozyme and Aldurazyme, was $1.6bn (€1.1bn).

And, while this was $215m lower than in 2009 as a result of well documented manufacturing and supply problems that impacted market share, the drugs still generated around 60 per cent of Genzyme’s revenue for the year.

The identification of new LSD sufferers will also be important to Genzyme’s soon to be owner Sanofi Aventis, which agreed a $20bn takeover deal with the US biotech earlier this month after nearly a year of haggling.

At the time the French drugmaker stressed the importance of the LSD franchise to the valuation, explaining that Genzyme will become its centre of excellence for rare diseases.

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