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 was acquired by Sanofi for some $20.1 billion in 2011.
Parental support has allowed to company to expand its manufacturing capabilities, which had struggled pre-acquisition. In 2012, Genzyme opened a new plant in the US and expanded production at its Ireland facility. It has about 65 locations worldwide serving patients in more than 100 countries.
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.
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.
Genzyme contributed 5% of its parent's total business in 2012. The subsidiary's sales rose about 17% that year. Renewed production of Fabrazyme at the company's Massachusetts plant and a corresponding 96% increase in sales led the way.
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.