Facility Expected to be Among First Manufacturing Sites in France To Gain High Environmental Quality Certification
Genzyme Corp. (Nasdaq: GENZ) announced today that it will build a new biomanufacturing plant in Lyon, France, for the production of Thymoglobulin® (Anti-thymocyte Globulin [Rabbit]), a treatment used in transplantation. The facility is needed to meet the anticipated long-term demand for Thymoglobulin, both for its current use and in potential new indications. The project represents one of a number of investments Genzyme is making in its global manufacturing infrastructure to support the growth of existing products and to prepare for the introduction of future products from its rich late-stage pipeline.
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 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 center for the final production and distribution of a range of products, including Thymoglobulin. Genzyme operates fifteen GMP manufacturing plants around the world, seven of them in Europe.
Thymoglobulin’s growth is being driven by its launch in new geographic markets and by publications and clinical studies. Sales last year increased 17 percent compared 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 140,000-square-foot 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 €105 million.
The new plant will be located within the Lyon-Gerland Biopôle, 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, as it has done at a number of its other manufacturing locations. 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, which is similar to the certification conferred by the U.S. Green Building Council through its LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.
In the United States, Genzyme is currently completing the construction of a new Science Center, which could become one of the first research laboratories to earn certification under the LEED system. In addition, the company’s landmark world headquarters building, Genzyme Center, has earned Platinum certification—the highest possible rating under the LEED system.
The Lyon facility will incorporate progressive design strategies similar to those in Genzyme Center and the Science Center. The initial design of the Lyon facility was completed by French architects Patriarche & Co. and engineers SNC Lavalin, in collaboration with Genzyme.
“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 Frédéric Turner, Genzyme’s senior vice president and general manager for France and North Africa.
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