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Genzyme to set up research facility in UK

Published on 16/01/04 at 09:43am

Genzyme, one of the US' most successful biotechnology companies has chosen Cambridge as the location of its first research centre in Europe.

The decision is a coup for the UK and Cambridge, considered the leading biotech 'cluster' in Europe where around 200 companies are based. Genzyme chief scientific officer Alan Smith says the company was won over by good infrastructure, links with academia and scientific talent.

"Establishing a presence within such an important biotechnology centre will complement and enhance our overall research programme," he said. "We expect to form relationships with people, companies and institutions pursuing innovative ideas and technologies in the UK and throughout Europe and to establish a greater European dimension to our science."

The centre is due to open in early 2004 and will initially focus on antibody technology and its applications in oncology, renal disease and immune-mediated diseases.  The Cambridge facility research activities will be led by Bruce Roberts, general manager, Genzyme Science, Europe.

The company already has an established presence in the UK with over 1,200 employees working in biomedical and regulatory affairs, manufacturing, marketing and sales, including a manufacturing site in nearby Haverhill.

Cerezyme an enzyme replacement therapy for patients with Type 1 Gaucher disease, is the company's biggest product, its sales increasing in 2003 by 19% to approximately $739 million.

Genzyme has an 11% stake in the UK biotech company Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT) with which it is developing two monoclonal antibody treatments, one for scleroderma (an autoimmune skin disease) and one for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a similar tissue thickening condition.



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