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Genzyme and HTC ChemRar announce cooperation on innovative medicines
16 May 2011
Genzyme and HTC ChemRar announce cooperation on innovative medicines

Genzyme and HTC ChemRar announce cooperation on innovative medicines
by Daniel Satinsky

Daniel Satinsky
Last month, Massachusetts-based Genzyme, which is a part of Sanofi-aventis Group, and Moscow-based HTC ChemRar announced they signed a memorandum of understanding announcing they intend to discuss potential research and development for new innovative medicines. Resulting research programs will be conducted at the Moscow Region biopharm cluster Severnyi, a subsidiary of ChemRar, and will be based on different technological platforms, including small molecules, antibodies and recombinant proteins (enzymes). The signing of the memorandum marks a significant increase in the level of Genzyme’s involvement in the Russian market and is part of an overall trend of U.S. and European companies of deepening their activities in Russia in line with Russia’s plans to modernize its bio and pharma industries.

Genzyme grew from a start-up, venture capital-backed company in Cambridge, Massachusetts to become the world’s third largest biotechnology company, selling products in more than 90 countries. It is most well-known for developing treatments for diseases that affect small populations of people, often referred to as “orphan diseases.”  Genzyme began its activities in Russia in August 2001 with a staff of two. By 2010, it had seven products registered in Russia, two of which are registered on the Russian government payment list: Cerezyme and Fludara.

The company’s Russian office is now headed by Igor Rukavishnikov, who oversees the ongoing expansion of Genzyme in Russia. Commenting on the new agreement with ChemRar, he said, “Our scientific partnership with ChemRar creates an opportunity for mutually complementary research to discover new targets and innovative medicines for unmet medical needs. The concentration of our partners’ intellectual potential in the biopharmaceutical cluster Severnyi, a leader in molecular biology and informatics, establishes a great opportunity to develop new biotech products.”

HTC ChemRar is a powerhouse of fundamental research and has a wide-ranging network of affiliated companies and partners. Commenting on last month’s announcement, Andrey Ivashenko, chairman of the Board of HTC ChemRar, stated, “We are partnering with several Big Pharma companies on scientific research in Russia. The collaboration with Genzyme will be of a new level and important: we are going not only to look at potentially further developing existing projects, but we are also planning to discuss totally new research programs. We hope that the Genzyme experience and the professionalism of our scientists will help Russia to develop new drugs, especially for rare diseases. Those are the diseases that need special attention today.”

Daniel Satinsky is a founding partner of the Russia Innovation Collaborative.


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