Cambridge, Massachusetts based biotech firm Genzyme has formed a new research collaboration with Cleveland Clinic of Cleveland, Ohio with a focus on developing new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). More than 2.3 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with MS, including what is believed to be as many as 400,000 people in the United States alone.
The innovative collaboration between Genzyme and Cleveland Clinic aligns the research efforts of both organizations around project designed to develop a deeper understanding of the pathogenesis and progression of MS, and to address unmet medical needs in MS — particularly progressive forms of the disease. Initially the collaboration will focus on projects that explore strategies to address neurodegeneration — a hallmark of progressive MS — as well as certain novel technologies that can help better understand the pathology of the disease. The collaboration will be led by a joint steering committee comprised of Genzyme and Cleveland Clinic researchers, and will span a minimum of 5 years.
“As leaders in MS we want to advance and build a sustainable pipeline of novel therapeutic approaches, and our collaboration with Cleveland Clinic, along with our internal R&D efforts, reinforce Genzyme’s long-term commitment to the MS community,” says David Meeker, Genzyme’s President and CEO. “We are excited to work collaboratively with a premier research and health care institution that has made many important contributions to better understanding this complex and devastating disease.”
“This collaboration will allow for the development of innovative approaches to evaluate potential new therapies for progressive MS,” agrees Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, M.D. , Director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis.
You can access a video, “The Spirit of Hope ” in which Genzyme CEO David Meeker, former CEO Henri Termeer, Gaucher patient Brian Berman, and MS patient /Genzyme employee Hilde Delvaux share how Genzyme has continued to build on its foundation as a pioneer of the biotechnology movement over the past three decades here.
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit, multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. With more than 1,400 beds on Cleveland Clinic main campus and 4,450 beds system-wide, as well as large and busy research and education institutes, it is one of the largest hospitals in the country. The Clinic’s Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis has one of the largest and most comprehensive programs for MS care and research worldwide, managing more than 20,000 patient visits every year. The Center has an innovative and active research team, which has been at the forefront of MS advances for the past two decades.
As leaders in designing and developing drugs for rare diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Genzyme has pioneered the development and delivery of transformative therapies for over 30 years. Founded in 1981 in Boston, Massachusetts, Genzyme evolved from a tiny start-up with just a handful of employees to one of the world’s leading biotech companies. Acquired by French multinational Sanofi in 2011, Genzyme now benefits from the reach and resources of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, but has maintained its roots in the Boston area, with the firm’s headquarters, Genzyme Center, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to several venerable universities, teaching hospitals, and a thriving biotechnology community. However, Genzyme also now operates in every other region of the globe.