Genzyme makes big money off uncommon diseases. The company's product portfolio focuses on treatments for multiple sclerosis and rare diseases, including genetic, endocrine, and cardiovascular disease. One of its main products, Cerezyme, is a leading (and pricey) treatment for Gaucher disease, a rare enzyme-deficiency condition. Founded in 1981, Genzyme has treatments for other enzyme disorders including Fabry disease and Pompe disease. In addition, the company conducts research in heart and kidney disease as well as other areas; resulting products would be commercialized by its parent. With operations in the US and Europe, Genzyme is owned by French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi.
Genzyme's full list of research areas includes neurological disease, renal disease, orthopedics, cardiovascular disease, neuroimmunology, genetic disease, and immune-mediated disease. Its pipeline includes additional uses for existing drugs as well as treatments for Parkinson's disease, age-related macular degeneration, and Niemann-Pick disease, a metabolic disorder. The company operates in two business units: rare diseases and multiple sclerosis (MS).
The firm's MS franchise includes once-daily oral Aubagio and monoclonal antibody Lemtrada.
Genzyme has offices in more than 40 countries with concentrations in the US, where it has 15 locations, and in China, France, the UK, and Brazil.
The company has six production sites. It works with more than 15 subcontractors to make a dozen commercial products.
Revenue increased 22% to €2.6 billion in 2014, primarily due to higher sales of Aubagio and Fabrazyme. Genzyme contributed 8% of its parent's total business that year.
Since becoming part of Sanofi, the company has narrowed its focus to rare diseases and multiple sclerosis. The parent calls this approach New Genzyme and considers it one of seven "growth platforms". Rare diseases include genetic disorders, primarily lysomal storage disorders (LSDs), a group of diseases caused by enzyme deficiencies. Products Cerezyme, Fabrazyme, and Myozyme/Lumizyme treat LSDs. It has three candidates in this area.
In 2015 Genzyme gained European marketing approval for Cerdelga, an oral medication for adults with type 1 Gaucher disease.Also that year, the FDA approved MS treatment Lemtrada and Cerdelga for sale in the US.
In early 2015 the company laid off about 100 employees in the oncology and global research and development departments. The move was part of parent Sanofi's ongoing restructuring of its early-stage research platforms.
Mergers and Acquisitions
The company agreed to buy Caprelsa, a therapy for thyroid carcinoma, from AstraZeneca in 2015. That purchase will further boost its rare disease portfolio.
Genzyme was acquired by Sanofi for some $20.1 billion in 2011.