Genzyme Corp. (NASDAQ: GENZ) today announced that it will build an additional manufacturing plant in Geel, Belgium, to support the long-term growth of Myozyme® and Lumizyme® for Pompe disease. The company held a ceremony today in Geel to mark the start of construction of the new €250 million plant, which will include 8,000 liters of production capacity, a complete purification installation, and ample room for additional future capacity expansions. Commercial approvals for the new site are expected to start late 2014.
“The expansion of our Geel facility is a critical element of our manufacturing strategy and is fundamental to our mission”
Genzyme currently produces Myozyme and Lumizyme at an adjacent plant in Geel, where it is increasing production capacity to 12,000 liters with the addition of a third bioreactor scheduled for approval by the end of this year. Genzyme is also continuing its 160 L production in the U.S. for patients with infantile-onset Pompe disease. The investment in Geel is part the company's program to increase its overall biologics manufacturing capacity four fold. About 150 new jobs will be created as part of the expansion, bringing the total workforce at the site to nearly 600 people.
"The expansion of our Geel facility is a critical element of our manufacturing strategy and is fundamental to our mission," said Scott Canute, Genzyme's President, Global Manufacturing and Corporate Operations. "We are committed to delivering a reliable supply of high quality medicines to our patients. This investment ensures continued supply to our patients in the Pompe community for the long term."
Genzyme believes that its Pompe disease treatments represent a commercial opportunity that is comparable to that of Cerezyme for Gaucher disease. The company estimates that there are about 10,000 Pompe patients worldwide; approximately 1,400 Pompe patients are currently treated with either Myozyme or Lumizyme, which are the only treatments approved for the disease. Myozyme is currently available in 48 markets worldwide and Genzyme expects to increase this to 60 markets by the end of this year.
"Our strong track record of results, the expertise and dedication of our workforce along with the partnership with the authorities in Belgium, have been instrumental in bringing this exciting new investment to our site," said Piet Houwen, General Manager of Genzyme's Geel manufacturing site.