Genzyme General and DaVita, Inc. to Collaborate on Program to Make Renagel Widely Available to Patients

Apr 17, 2001, 01:00 ET from Genzyme General

    CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Genzyme General (Nasdaq:   GENZ),
 a division of Genzyme Corp., announced today that DaVita, Inc., a major
 provider of dialysis treatment for patients with end-stage renal disease
 (ESRD), will launch a new program to help make Renagel(R) (sevelamer
 hydrochloride) widely available to its patients.  With approximately 41,000
 patients under care at facilities it owns and operates, DaVita is one of the
 nation's largest providers of dialysis treatment.
     The DaVita Renassist Project is a collaboration between DaVita and
 Genzyme.  This project is designed to help identify patients' prescription
 benefits, and transition them where appropriate to Renagel. The implementation
 of the DaVita Renassist Project is expected to approximately double the number
 of DaVita's patients who use Renagel to control their phosphate level while on
 dialysis. By the time the project is complete, it is estimated that
 potentially 60 percent of DaVita's patients will be treated with Renagel.
 Renagel is indicated for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in ESRD patients
 on hemodialysis.
     "Renagel has improved the lives of our patients by strengthening their
 ability to manage one of the most overlooked areas of treatment for end stage
 renal disease -- hyperphosphatemia," said Dr. Charles McAllister, Chief
 Medical Officer at DaVita, Inc.  "Expanding our use of Renagel will enable us
 to control phosphorus.  A potential benefit of this for our patients is to
 prevent some of the more serious adverse consequences associated with dialysis
 treatment and improve outcomes."
     Patients on dialysis are at high risk for elevated levels of phosphorus,
 which can lead to cardiovascular complications, bone disease, and higher
 mortality rates if left untreated.  To combat the problem, nearly all patients
 on dialysis take a phosphate binder which, before Renagel was introduced, was
 typically calcium-based.  Recent independent studies have associated excessive
 calcium consumption with increased morbidity in dialysis patients. Renagel is
 the only calcium-free, aluminum-free phosphate binder on the market. The
 safety and efficacy of Renagel for patients not on hemodialysis has not been
 studied.
     "The demand for Renagel has grown dramatically, as published studies
 continue to document the problems associated with elevated phosphorus levels
 and the consequences of controlling phosphorus levels with calcium-based
 phosphate binders," said Mike Raab, Senior Vice President, and General Manager
 of Genzyme General's Renal Program.  "DaVita's decision is further validation
 that Renagel is fast becoming a standard component of dialysis treatment."
     DaVita's adoption of Renagel follows Genzyme's recent announcement that
 Medi-Cal, the country's largest Medicaid program, has recently added Renagel's
 tablet dosage form to their state formulary.  Several other chronic renal
 programs have added Renagel to their formulary for their dialysis patients.
     DaVita, Inc. of Torrance, Calif., treats patients with end-stage renal
 disease through a network of 486 owned and managed dialysis facilities located
 in 32 states and the District of Columbia.  In addition, they provide acute
 dialysis services in 285 hospitals throughout the United States.
     Genzyme General develops and markets therapeutic products and diagnostic
 products and services.  Genzyme General has four therapeutic products on the
 market and a strong pipeline of products in development focused on the
 treatment of genetic disorders and other chronic debilitating diseases with
 well-defined patient populations. Genzyme General is a division of the
 biotechnology company Genzyme Corporation.
     This press release contains forward-looking statements based on
 management's current expectations, including without limitation statements
 about: the estimated number of dialysis patients under care at facilities
 owned and operated by DaVita; the anticipated impact of the DaVita Renassist
 Project on the number of DaVita's patients using Renagel; the estimated number
 of DaVita patients that will be treated with Renagel upon completion of the
 project; the anticipated benefits of expanding use of Renagel; and the
 potential for Renagel to become a standard component of dialysis treatment.
 Actual results may materially differ due to numerous factors, including: the
 accuracy of Genzyme's information about the number of patients under care at
 DaVita's facilities; decisions by third party payors concerning the
 availability and extent of coverage for Renagel; the ability to increase
 market acceptance of Renagel; the results of clinical trials; the safety and
 efficacy of Renagel; the ability to optimize patient compliance and dosing of
 Renagel; the competitive environment in the dialysis market; the ability to
 manufacture sufficient quantities of product for commercialization activities;
 the ability to expand and retool manufacturing systems related to Renagel; and
 the risks and uncertainties described in reports filed by Genzyme Corporation
 with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Exchange Act
 of 1934, as amended, including without limitation Exhibit 99.2 to Genzyme's
 2000 Annual Report on Form 10-K.  Genzyme General Division Common Stock is a
 series of common stock of Genzyme Corporation. Therefore, holders of Genzyme
 General Division Common Stock are subject to all of the risks and
 uncertainties described in the aforementioned reports.
 
     Genzyme(R) is a registered trademark of Genzyme Corporation. All rights
 are reserved. Renagel(R) is a registered trademark of GelTex Pharmaceuticals,
 Inc.  Renagel package insert information is available at www.renagel.com or by
 calling 1-800-847-0069.
 
     Genzyme's releases are available on the World Wide Web at www.genzyme.com.
 They are also available from Genzyme's fax-on-demand service at 1-800-436-1443
 within the United States or 1-201-521-1080 outside the United States.
 
 

SOURCE Genzyme General
    CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Genzyme General (Nasdaq:   GENZ),
 a division of Genzyme Corp., announced today that DaVita, Inc., a major
 provider of dialysis treatment for patients with end-stage renal disease
 (ESRD), will launch a new program to help make Renagel(R) (sevelamer
 hydrochloride) widely available to its patients.  With approximately 41,000
 patients under care at facilities it owns and operates, DaVita is one of the
 nation's largest providers of dialysis treatment.
     The DaVita Renassist Project is a collaboration between DaVita and
 Genzyme.  This project is designed to help identify patients' prescription
 benefits, and transition them where appropriate to Renagel. The implementation
 of the DaVita Renassist Project is expected to approximately double the number
 of DaVita's patients who use Renagel to control their phosphate level while on
 dialysis. By the time the project is complete, it is estimated that
 potentially 60 percent of DaVita's patients will be treated with Renagel.
 Renagel is indicated for the treatment of hyperphosphatemia in ESRD patients
 on hemodialysis.
     "Renagel has improved the lives of our patients by strengthening their
 ability to manage one of the most overlooked areas of treatment for end stage
 renal disease -- hyperphosphatemia," said Dr. Charles McAllister, Chief
 Medical Officer at DaVita, Inc.  "Expanding our use of Renagel will enable us
 to control phosphorus.  A potential benefit of this for our patients is to
 prevent some of the more serious adverse consequences associated with dialysis
 treatment and improve outcomes."
     Patients on dialysis are at high risk for elevated levels of phosphorus,
 which can lead to cardiovascular complications, bone disease, and higher
 mortality rates if left untreated.  To combat the problem, nearly all patients
 on dialysis take a phosphate binder which, before Renagel was introduced, was
 typically calcium-based.  Recent independent studies have associated excessive
 calcium consumption with increased morbidity in dialysis patients. Renagel is
 the only calcium-free, aluminum-free phosphate binder on the market. The
 safety and efficacy of Renagel for patients not on hemodialysis has not been
 studied.
     "The demand for Renagel has grown dramatically, as published studies
 continue to document the problems associated with elevated phosphorus levels
 and the consequences of controlling phosphorus levels with calcium-based
 phosphate binders," said Mike Raab, Senior Vice President, and General Manager
 of Genzyme General's Renal Program.  "DaVita's decision is further validation
 that Renagel is fast becoming a standard component of dialysis treatment."
     DaVita's adoption of Renagel follows Genzyme's recent announcement that
 Medi-Cal, the country's largest Medicaid program, has recently added Renagel's
 tablet dosage form to their state formulary.  Several other chronic renal
 programs have added Renagel to their formulary for their dialysis patients.
     DaVita, Inc. of Torrance, Calif., treats patients with end-stage renal
 disease through a network of 486 owned and managed dialysis facilities located
 in 32 states and the District of Columbia.  In addition, they provide acute
 dialysis services in 285 hospitals throughout the United States.
     Genzyme General develops and markets therapeutic products and diagnostic
 products and services.  Genzyme General has four therapeutic products on the
 market and a strong pipeline of products in development focused on the
 treatment of genetic disorders and other chronic debilitating diseases with
 well-defined patient populations. Genzyme General is a division of the
 biotechnology company Genzyme Corporation.
     This press release contains forward-looking statements based on
 management's current expectations, including without limitation statements
 about: the estimated number of dialysis patients under care at facilities
 owned and operated by DaVita; the anticipated impact of the DaVita Renassist
 Project on the number of DaVita's patients using Renagel; the estimated number
 of DaVita patients that will be treated with Renagel upon completion of the
 project; the anticipated benefits of expanding use of Renagel; and the
 potential for Renagel to become a standard component of dialysis treatment.
 Actual results may materially differ due to numerous factors, including: the
 accuracy of Genzyme's information about the number of patients under care at
 DaVita's facilities; decisions by third party payors concerning the
 availability and extent of coverage for Renagel; the ability to increase
 market acceptance of Renagel; the results of clinical trials; the safety and
 efficacy of Renagel; the ability to optimize patient compliance and dosing of
 Renagel; the competitive environment in the dialysis market; the ability to
 manufacture sufficient quantities of product for commercialization activities;
 the ability to expand and retool manufacturing systems related to Renagel; and
 the risks and uncertainties described in reports filed by Genzyme Corporation
 with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Exchange Act
 of 1934, as amended, including without limitation Exhibit 99.2 to Genzyme's
 2000 Annual Report on Form 10-K.  Genzyme General Division Common Stock is a
 series of common stock of Genzyme Corporation. Therefore, holders of Genzyme
 General Division Common Stock are subject to all of the risks and
 uncertainties described in the aforementioned reports.
 
     Genzyme(R) is a registered trademark of Genzyme Corporation. All rights
 are reserved. Renagel(R) is a registered trademark of GelTex Pharmaceuticals,
 Inc.  Renagel package insert information is available at www.renagel.com or by
 calling 1-800-847-0069.
 
     Genzyme's releases are available on the World Wide Web at www.genzyme.com.
 They are also available from Genzyme's fax-on-demand service at 1-800-436-1443
 within the United States or 1-201-521-1080 outside the United States.
 
 SOURCE  Genzyme General