Genzyme confident of restarting virus-hit Allston plant by August

Biotech researcher Genzyme Corporation, yesterday said it was confident that its Allston plant, which was forced to halt production of two top-selling drugs, Cerezyme and Fabrazyme, after detecting a virus, would be back on line next month.

The company shut down its key production facility, at Allston Landing early this month. (See: Genzyme Corp shuts key facility to clean plant contamination).

Cerezyme and Fabrazyme are used for rare inherited enzyme-deficiency disorders such as Gaucher and Fabry.

The extensive disinfection process at the Allston Landing plant has begun, the biotechnology company said on Thursday.

Though the virus is not considered harmful to humans, it could affect the growth of cells used to make the two drugs.

Cerezyme was Genzyme's biggest selling product last year, and Fabrazyme was No. 3. Together they represented about 37 per cent of the company's 2008 revenue of $4.6 billion.