Chiesi Group to purchase Zymenex

Provides opportunity to build a rare disease unit in Europe and the US

Chiesi Group, a European pharmaceutical company, will enter the rare diseases sector with the purchase of Danish biopharmaceutical firm Zymenex Holding and its related group of companies for an undisclosed sum.

Zymenex focuses on developing innovative biologic therapeutics for the treatment of rare and life-threatening genetic diseases. The acquisition of Zymenex includes Lamazym (rhLAMAN), a Phase III recombinant enzyme for treating patients suffering from alpha-Mannosidosis, as well as other early stage compounds.

Chiesi said the acquisition takes the firm into the recombinant biologics market for rare diseases and provides a new channel for continued global growth.

'This transaction marks Chiesi's entrance into the rare disease space and provides an opportunity to access high-potential markets,' said Ugo Di Francesco, Chief Executive of Chiesi. 'By expanding our research and development assets and know-how, we believe we can successfully commercialise new and developing drugs to enhance our portfolio, expand our international footprint and strengthen our competitive position.'

Given the rarity of alpha-Mannosidosis and the importance of being close to patients, Di Francesco said Chiesi would consider 'setting up a standalone rare disease unit that would cover all major geographies, including the US'.

'Zymenex has from the very beginning focused on orphan drugs in the field of lysosomal storage diseases,' said Sten Verland, Chairman of Zymenex. 'Patient focus and high quality research in all aspects of the development process are the basis for the company's success.

'We believe that Chiesi through its regulatory expertise and worldwide commercial footprint has the resources needed to fully exploit the potential of Zymenex' R&D for the benefit of patients with rare, serious, genetic diseases, for which there is no treatment available today.'

Chiesi will gradually integrate Zymenex into its R&D structure and retain the Zymenex and Lamazym brands.