Book ex­cerpt: How Hen­ri Ter­meer built Gen­zyme and pi­o­neered the rare dis­ease in­dus­try

It wasn’t that long ago when the no­tion of a start­up com­pa­ny go­ing af­ter a rare dis­ease with a to­tal ad­dress­able mar­ket of a few thou­sand sick pa­tients was a non-starter.

It was Gen­zyme founder Hen­ri Ter­meer who changed all that. And to­day I’m pleased to share with read­ers an ex­cerpt from a new book that ex­am­ines how he built his ground­break­ing com­pa­ny.

Ter­meer’s lega­cy rests on grow­ing Gen­zyme in­to a world leader in or­phan drug R&D, de­vel­op­ing drugs for tiny pa­tient pop­u­la­tions, sav­ing lives and pi­o­neer­ing an ag­gres­sive pric­ing strat­e­gy that made the field a pop­u­lar fo­cus among a whole gen­er­a­tion of star­tups.

He was a men­tor and friend to many lead­ers in the in­dus­try to­day. Af­ter sell­ing Gen­zyme to Sanofi, he stayed ac­tive in biotech, serv­ing on boards at Mod­er­na, Ve­rastem and oth­ers and in­vest­ing part of the $158 mil­lion wind­fall of cash he earned in the Sanofi buy­out in a long line­up of up­starts.

The book is ti­tled Con­science and Courage: How Vi­sion­ary CEO Hen­ri Ter­meer Built a Biotech Gi­ant and Pi­o­neered the Rare Dis­ease In­dus­try and you can buy it from Ama­zon here or di­rect­ly from the pub­lish­er. — Ar­salan Arif

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