CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Genzyme Corp. (Nasdaq: GENZ) announced today that it will build a major new research and development center in Beijing. The initiative is an important element in Genzyme's ongoing global expansion and commitment to establishing a long-term presence in China.
The new facility will be used for research and development activities involving many of Genzyme's key areas of focus, including orthopedics, transplant and immune disease, oncology, endocrinology and cardiovascular disease. The facility, which will feature an innovative green design, will also include laboratory-scale operations for the MACI(R) (matrix-induced autologous chondrocyte implantation) cell therapy and polyclonal antibody operations.
"This new site represents a major step forward in our effort to improve the lives of patients in China by introducing innovative new medical products," said Henri A. Termeer, Genzyme's chairman and chief executive officer. "As we expand our presence in China, we look forward to making a significant contribution to the growth of the country's life sciences industry."
Genzyme already markets Synvisc(R) (hylan G-F 20) and Thymoglobulin(R) (anti-thymocyte globulin rabbit) in China, and is preparing to introduce additional products next year. The company also has a pilot program at Beijing Wujing Hospital for the cell therapy product MACI. Genzyme currently has 25 employees working in offices in Beijing and Shanghai.
Since 1999, Genzyme has provided its rare genetic disease treatment Cerezyme(R) (imiglucerase for injection) free of charge to Chinese patients in need. Approximately 125 patients are being treated in China through the Gaucher Initiative, Genzyme's humanitarian partnership with Project HOPE. Last year, the company began a collaboration with the Chinese firm Sunway Biotech Co. Ltd. with the goal of bringing a gene therapy for cardiovascular disease to patients in China and Genzyme is seeking to form additional partnerships with local companies.
Consistent with Genzyme's commitment to the environment and corporate responsibility, the new Beijing facility will feature an attractive architectural design and innovative green features that will create a healthy and comfortable workplace for employees, and reduce its environmental impact. The company intends to seek certification for the building with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Genzyme's global corporate headquarters, Genzyme Center, achieved the highest LEED rating, and all of the company's facilities worldwide are being built to high environmental standards. Genzyme is conducting major R&D and manufacturing expansion projects in the United States, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and is rapidly expanding its commercial operations in countries around the world.
Genzyme's new Beijing facility will be located in Zhongguancun (ZGC) Life Science Park, an area dedicated to academic and government research centers as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. The 200,000 square-foot building will be constructed with low-impact environmental techniques and methods, and will incorporate a range of environmentally responsible features, including: a living roof to reduce pollution caused by storm water runoff; a solar thermal system that will provide a significant portion of the building's hot water and reduce its energy consumption; and low-flow fixtures to limit water usage.
An all-glass exterior will provide employees with significant natural light, contributing to a pleasant working environment and reducing the facility's dependence on electricity for artificial lighting. The facility is also intended to serve as a central gathering spot, with a large auditorium to host meetings of employees, physicians and others in the scientific community. This meeting space will be adjacent to an exterior garden area, and there will also be interior gardens throughout the facility.
Genzyme's core research and development operations are located in Massachusetts, USA. The company also has a research site in Cambridge, U.K. The Beijing facility will be the company's second product-focused R&D site outside of the United States.
Genzyme is seeking necessary governmental authorizations and expects to complete and open the facility in 2010. The facility will be able to accommodate 350 employees, and the total cost for the project is estimated to be $90 million. The architect is RMJM Hillier and the engineer is MW Zander.
One of the world's leading biotechnology companies, Genzyme is dedicated to making a major positive impact on the lives of people with serious diseases. Since 1981, the company has grown from a small start-up to a diversified enterprise with more than 10,000 employees in locations spanning the globe and 2007 revenues of $3.8 billion. In 2007, Genzyme was chosen to receive the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States for technological innovation.
With many established products and services helping patients in nearly 90 countries, Genzyme is a leader in the effort to develop and apply the most advanced technologies in the life sciences. The company's products and services are focused on rare inherited disorders, kidney disease, orthopaedics, cancer, transplant, and diagnostic testing. Genzyme's commitment to innovation continues today with a substantial development program focused on these fields, as well as immune disease, infectious disease, and other areas of unmet medical need.
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding Genzyme's business plans and strategies, including without limitation: the construction of an R&D facility in Beijing, the incorporation of environmentally sensitive design features and construction techniques into the facility, the commencement of construction of the facility, and the completion and opening of the facility in 2010. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those forecasted. These risks and uncertainties include, among others: Genzyme's ability to obtain all required authorizations and permits to build the R&D facility; Genzyme's ability to utilize low impact environmental techniques and to incorporate environmentally sensitive design features into the facility; Genzyme's ability to construct the facility without delays resulting from customary design and construction risks; Genzyme's ability to validate, set-up and commence operations at the facility; and the risks and uncertainties described in Genzyme's SEC reports filed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including the factors discussed under the caption "Risk Factors" in Genzyme's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the period ended December 31, 2007. Genzyme cautions investors not to place substantial reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this press release. These statements speak only as of today's date and Genzyme undertakes no obligation to update or revise the statements.
Genzyme(R), Synvisc(R), Thymoglobulin(R) and Cerezyme(R) are registered trademarks of Genzyme Corporation. All rights reserved.
Genzyme's press releases and other company information are available at http://www.genzyme.com and by calling Genzyme's investor information line at 1-800-905-4369 within the United States or 1-678-999-4572 outside the United States.
SOURCE Genzyme Corp.