Genzyme Jumps Into Rapidly Growing Business Of Genetic Medicines

By Anthony Silva, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 New England Business Editor

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Genzyme is spending $700 million dollars to buy a chunk of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge — a much smaller company that’s been moving rapidly toward commercializing treatments for rare genetic diseases.

Genzyme President and CEO David Meeker, MD, tells New England Business he thinks this agreement will help both companies.

“It gives us access to a very exciting pipeline of products, specifically in the area of rare diseases, which is a key focus for Genzyme,” Meeker says. “For Alnylam, it gives them a partner who has real expertise in both developing and commercializing products in the area of rare diseases. There’s good synergy here.”

Meeker says companies like Alnylam have special challenges.

“There’s simply a scale challenge, both in terms of being able to develop all of the programs at the same time, there’s a significant financial expense, as well as an infrastructure challenge.”

Genzyme obtains rights to commercialize Alnylam products, while acquiring 12% of the company.

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