Genzyme to build new biomanufacturing plant in France

Genzyme Corp. is to build a new biomanufacturing plant in Lyon, France, for the production of Thymoglobulin (antithymocyte globulin [rabbit]), a treatment used in transplantation.

Genzyme Corp. is to build a new biomanufacturing plant in Lyon, France, for the production of Thymoglobulin (antithymocyte globulin [rabbit]), a treatment used in transplantation.

The facility is needed to meet the expected long-term demand for Thymoglobulin, both for its current use and in potential new indications.

In addition to the Lyon project, Genzyme is completing the development of a new plant in Belgium for the production of monoclonal antibodies and proteins and is expanding other facilities, including its Allston Landing protein manufacturing plant in Boston. Genzyme also recently received regulatory approvals for a new filling and packaging facility at its manufacturing site in Ireland, which has become the company's major European centre for the final production and distribution of a range of products, including Thymoglobulin.

Genzyme operates 15 GMP manufacturing plants around the world, seven of them in Europe.

Thymoglobulin sales increased last year by 17% with the previous year. The product is currently approved in more than 50 countries for various indications, including the treatment and the prevention of acute rejection of solid organ transplants. Thymoglobulin has encouraging potential beyond the transplantation field, and current studies are exploring its applicability to hematological disorders and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes.

The new 140,000ft2 facility in Lyon will replace Genzyme's smaller plant in nearby Marcy l'Etoile and will provide more than twice the manufacturing capacity. Approximately 165 people are employed at the existing Thymoglobulin plant, and Genzyme expects that approximately 50 new jobs will be created when the new facility operates at full capacity. The total cost of the project is expected to be Euro 105m.

The new plant will be located within the Lyon-Gerland Biopole, an area dedicated to biotechnology. The facility will be situated on a nine-acre site, which will allow Genzyme to expand the plant if needed. Construction is expected to begin later this year, and regulatory approvals are expected starting in 2010. Routine manufacturing at the site is expected to commence in 2011.

'As with our other new facilities, we intend the Lyon plant to serve as a highly visible expression of Genzyme's purpose, which is to innovate and set new standards in both the products that we develop for patients and in the way that we operate as a company,. said Mark Bamforth, senior vice president for corporate operations.

Consistent with Genzyme's commitment to innovation and sustainable development, the facility will feature an attractive architectural design and innovative 'green' features that will create a healthy and comfortable indoor environment for employees and reduce the plant's impact on the external environment.

Genzyme intends to develop the site using a High Environmental Quality (HEQ) approach and to obtain HEQ certification by meeting or exceeding standards set by the Center for Scientific and Technical Building. The plant would be one of the first manufacturing sites in France to gain HEQ certification.

'This investment sends a clear message of support for French research and biotechnology and it illustrates Genzyme's culture of establishing strong partnerships in the regions where we operate,' said Frederic Turner, Genzyme's senior vice president and general manager for France and North Africa.

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