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Genzyme Corporation and Medicines for Malaria Venture Announce New Collaboration with Advinus Therapeutics to Accelerate Discovery of Novel Therapies for Malaria


Brings complementary capabilities in India to address patient populations most at risk

Genzyme Corp. (Nasdaq: GENZ), a global leader in biotechnology, and Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), a not-for-profit virtual research and development (R&D) organization dedicated to reducing the burden of malaria, announced today a new collaboration with India’s Advinus Therapeutics Ltd. The collaboration seeks to develop new, improved treatments for specific patient groups most at risk for malaria, an often fatal infectious disease of developing countries, particularly affecting pregnant women and infants.

The ongoing MMV/Genzyme partnership also includes The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. The team has begun to identify promising lead candidates, coming out of its innovative platform for high-throughput screening of several compound libraries. Among the kinds of compounds to be optimized, with the help of Advinus, are those active against key target enzymes that are essential for the survival of the malaria parasite.

“Malaria kills between one and two million people annually, with the majority of victims being children under five and pregnant women,” said Dr. Chris Hentschel, president and chief executive officer of MMV. “New antimalarial agents are urgently needed to stop this unacceptable loss of life, with eradication as our long-term objective. The pipeline of new molecules that are effective against malaria must be made more robust so that we can develop the next generation of powerful treatments. MMV is excited to be working with innovative research organizations like Genzyme and Advinus to identify these very molecules.”

Based in Bangalore, India, Advinus is a TATA-promoted life sciences research and development company with extensive expertise in pharmaceutical R&D. With the complementary skills and experience Advinus brings, the collaboration will focus on identifying new molecules effective at fighting malaria, from early-stage screening to the first steps of preclinical assessment. One important aim is to develop therapies to address the danger of emerging drug resistance that current antimalarial treatments increasingly face.

Dr. Rashmi Barbhaiya, chief executive officer of Advinus, said, “This collaboration once again confirms the commitment of Advinus and the TATA group to develop medicines for neglected diseases. India today is one of the few countries in the world that has not only the disease burden, but also the capability to research and develop new therapies for these diseases. Advinus, in particular, with its extensive drug discovery and development expertise, is uniquely positioned to work with MMV and Genzyme to address this crucial public health problem.”

Genzyme, one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, established a formal presence in India last year to actively collaborate with private and public institutions in the country and the region. The company also supports efforts to discover and advance novel treatments for neglected diseases such as malaria, Chagas disease and sleeping sickness through its Humanitarian Assistance for Neglected Diseases (HAND) initiative. The company does not seek to profit from the commercialization of any products it helps to develop under this program.

“This collaboration is a powerful example of how industry can partner with others to fight the devastating impact of diseases affecting the developing world,” said Henri A. Termeer, chairman and chief executive officer of Genzyme Corporation. “We look forward to our collaboration with Advinus as we extend our efforts to improve human health into developing regions like India. By bringing together the commitment of MMV with the drug discovery expertise of Genzyme and Advinus, we can turn the promise of science into meaningful and sustainable therapies for populations most at risk in India and around the world.”


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