File photo of Genzyme’s existing facility in Framingham. Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff.
Genzyme, the Cambridge biotechnology company that was acquired by French drug maker Sanofi SA for $20.1 billion in 2011, said Tuesday that it is investing $80 million to expand drug manufacturing capacity at its Framingham facility.
The new plant, which will be located adjacent to a new cell culture manufacturing site in Framingham, will significantly expand purification capacity to support anticipated growth in global demand for Fabrazyme in the coming years, the company said.
Fabrazyme is Genzyme’s treatment for Fabry disease, a life threatening genetic disorder. Fabry disease affects about 5,000 patients in the world.
Until recently, Genzyme was known for a focus on rare diseases. But now the company is also working on treatments for more common illnesses. Last month, a Genzyme multiple sclerosis drug called Lemtrada was approved by European regulators.
Multiple sclerosis, a potentially debilitating autoimmune disease, affects the brain and central nervous system of an estimated 2.5 million people globally. Securities analysts have estimated the market for MS treatments at $13 billion annually.