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Aug 26, 2013

Chiesi Group Acquires Zymenex, Enters Rare-Disease Market

  • Chiesi Group will acquire Zymenex Holding and its related companies from its venture capital investor-owner Sunstone Capital for an undisclosed price, in a deal that marks Chiesi's entrance into the rare disease space and, according to the company, provides an opportunity to access high-potential markets.

    Founded in 1998, Danish-based Zymenex specializes in R&D on biologics designed to fight rare and life-threatening genetic diseases. Zymenex’s pipeline is led by LamazymTM (rhLAMAN), a Phase III recombinant enzyme indicated for patients with alpha-Mannosidosis, and includes other early-stage compounds. Zymenex has headquarters in Hilleroed north of Copenhagen, as well as research laboratories in Stockholm.

    Chiesi said the acquisition of Zymenex will enable it to establish a research and development position in recombinant biologics for rare diseases and provide a new channel for continued global growth through Zymenex’ R&D capabilities. Chiesi also said it will use its drug-commercialization expertise to market Lamazym globally to all patients with alpha-mannosidosis.

    “By expanding our research and development assets and know-how, we believe we can successfully commercialize new and developing drugs to enhance our portfolio, expand our international footprint, and strengthen our competitive position,” Ugo Di Francesco, Chiesi’s CEO, said. “Given the rarity of the condition and the importance of being close to the patients, we will consider setting up a standalone rare disease unit that would cover all major geographies, including the U.S.”

    Chiesi said it expects to retain the Zymenex and Lamazym brands while gradually integrating Zymenex into its R&D structure.

    Also in Zymenex’ pipeline is ZA-011, a discovery-stage compound for lysosomal disease; and the recombinant human enzyme Galaczym for the rare, lysosomal disease Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy (Krabbe’s disease), being developed by Zymenex subsidiary ACE BioSciences. In 2011, FDA and the European Union granted ACE orphan drug designations for Galaczym in the U.S. and Europe, respectively.

    Chiesi, founded in 1935, markets its therapeutics in over 60 countries and is headquartered in Parma, Italy. The company has manufacturing plants in Parma as well as Blois, France; and Santana de Parnaiba, Brazil; as well as R&D centers in Parma, Paris, Rockville, MD, and Chippenham U.K. 

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