Genzyme, Alnylam team up on rare diseases

Alnylam’s John Maraganore described the Genzyme deal as “transformational.’’
Alnylam’s John Maraganore described the Genzyme deal as “transformational.’’Bloomberg News/File 2007

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Genzyme, the Cambridge-based biotechnology company that has built a franchise around developing drugs to treat rare genetic disorders, is disclosing Monday that it will pay $700 million to buy a chunk of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. and tap its pipeline of rare disease drug candidates.

The announcement, coming as the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference gets underway here, underscores the commitment of Genzyme’s corporate parent, the French drug maker Sanofi SA, to build a more formidable portfolio of experimental treatments for rare genetic disorders just weeks after Genzyme suffered a major setback when the Food and Drug Administration rejected its much-anticipated multiple sclerosis therapy.

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