Science at Genzyme


At Genzyme, science is at the core of what we do. Our R&D efforts are focused on delivering breakthrough therapies for patients who might otherwise have few or no treatment options.

The Path to Treatment

Inspired by the potential to improve patients’ lives, Genzyme’s scientists work at the forefront of health care research and technology. The path to an approved treatment is long and complex, from the initial discovery of a promising therapeutic candidate through the rigorous preclinical and clinical research and development necessary to deliver a marketable product.

Starting early in the research process, we involve employees from other disciplines – including medical, regulatory, and market access – to help maximise our chances of both clinical and commercial success. With expertise across every step of the process, we have the capabilities to advance many kinds of research programs:

  • Internal discoveries – Our researchers in molecular biology and chemistry discover promising candidates that show potential to go all the way from the lab to the patient.
  • Developing external discoveries – Some of our greatest successes have been in realising the full potential of outside discoveries. Several of our products began as joint ventures or partnerships that we developed further to bring to market.
  • Maximising existing products – We're constantly exploring new opportunities to maximise the potential of our current products, whether enhanced formulations to better address patient needs or label expansions to treat entirely new indications.

Success Story: Our First Therapy

Developing a new therapy is a challenging process; it takes many years, costs millions of dollars, and has a low rate of success. Persistence is a hallmark of good science, and a fundamental element of Genzyme's research philosophy. It took us 10 years to bring our first therapeutic product to market, a first-of-its-kind enzyme replacement to treat the rare genetic disorder Gaucher disease. Yet we persevered out of a commitment to a small group of patients that had no other alternative. Our success changed the lives of these patients – and established a business model for treatment of orphan diseases.

A Culture of Collaboration

Genzyme has been consistently ranked among the top places to work for scientists, in large part because of our culture of collaborative innovation. Our scientists and researchers are fully integrated into our entire operations. They communicate regularly with our clinical, commercial, and regulatory experts and with outside clinicians to fully understand the needs that drive our business and to discuss new opportunities.

Our research facilities are in the United States, clustered around Boston; this close proximity enables our scientists to share ideas with each other and collaborate easily. As part of the Sanofi Boston R&D Hub, our research teams can tap into a wide range of expertise both within the company and in the scientific community of the greater Boston area.

We have also built strong relationships with universities, hospitals, companies, disease-associated foundations, and patient organisations around the world. Our scientists stay connected to the larger scientific community through conferences, symposiums, and personal networking. These activities and relationships help us stay abreast of the latest technologies and better understand regional medical needs and practices, and regulatory and market access requirements.

Staying involved also helps us identify potential collaborators – a critical part of our business. We actively pursue partnerships, joint ventures, licensing opportunities, co-sponsored trials, and other activities to help advance our research efforts. Over the years, we've collaborated with investigators at universities, research institutions, private companies, and government organisations to put science to work for patients in need around the world.

Many of us here at Genzyme can put faces to the diseases we are working on. For most of us, research is more than just an interesting job; it’s a personal quest.
Johanne Kaplan, Vice President of Neuroimmunology Research
Last Updated: 7/22/2014
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