GenzymeCAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Genzyme, a Sanofi company (EURONEXT: SAN and NYSE: SNY), today announced its support of International Rare Disease Day with a series of events to celebrate and recognize the global rare disease community. Observed annually on the last day of February, Rare Disease Day seeks to call attention to rare diseases as an important public health issue, and to bring widespread recognition of increased need for education, research and treatment.

As part of its rare disease day activities, Genzyme is pleased to announce the launch of its second annual global grant program, the Genzyme Patient Advocacy Leadership Awards (PAL Awards). Now open for submissions, the Genzyme PAL Awards support non-profit organizations that work on behalf of patients living with lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs), a group of rare, inherited disorders that cause progressive and debilitating health problems. Due to last year’s overwhelming response, which included ideas and programs to improve disease awareness, patient education, care and support from around the world, Genzyme has doubled this year’s grant amount for a total of $100,000. Grants will be awarded through a competitive application process to organizations that seek funding for new initiatives that support the LSD patient community.

“Partnerships such as the PAL Awards program underscore Genzyme’s commitment to the rare disease community and demonstrate the importance of increased education and awareness of rare diseases to improve the quality of care of patients around the world,” said Rogerio Vivaldi M.D., Genzyme’s Head of Rare Diseases. “For over 30 years, Genzyme has been proud to work with patient organizations to further access to care and treatment for patients with rare and special unmet medical needs.”

In 2011, more than 50 patient organizations around the world responded to Genzyme’s PAL Awards program and 11 patient organizations were selected by the External Review Committee to win a PAL Award.

“We are a young patient organization with a big heart,” said Kenneth Mah, Vice President, Rare Disease Society of Singapore. “We are proud that Genzyme recognized this and selected the Rare Disease Society of Singapore as one of the 11 groups around the world to receive a Genzyme PAL grant. The funds from the PAL award have proven invaluable in creating awareness in the community.”

Additional Genzyme International Rare Disease Day Initiatives

February 29, 2012 marks the fifth International Rare Disease Day, created by the patient organization EURORDIS and involving rare disease organizations globally. There are nearly 7,000 identified rare diseases and many have no treatment available. While each disease is rare, collectively they affect millions of people. Genzyme is an annual partner for International Rare Disease Day, and has organized events at Genzyme locations around the world that focus on this year’s theme, “Solidarity.” These events include:

  • Presentations and testimonials by patients with rare diseases at Genzyme offices worldwide;
  • Participation in a public event at the Massachusetts State House, focusing on research and innovation;
  • Olympic-torch style relay with over 100 employee participants across four Genzyme sites in Massachusetts raising funds to support the National Organization of Rare Disorders;
  • Local offices including China, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Costa Rica, Japan and India will partner with local patient advocacy organizations and hospitals to support the day’s activities.

More About Genzyme Patient Advocacy Leadership (PAL) Grant

Organizations may apply for a Genzyme PAL Award for programs that support lysosomal storage disorder awareness, advocacy on behalf of patient communities, patient education and patient care, support and communication networks. This grant program is supplemental to Genzyme’s existing grants program and will not replace the contributions made locally each year to support advocacy groups. Proposals will be reviewed by an external review committee. Applications must be received by June 15, 2012 and the award recipients will be announced by September 30, 2012. For more information on the Genzyme PAL Awards program, or to apply for a grant, please visit

About Genzyme, a Sanofi Company

Genzyme has pioneered the development and delivery of transformative therapies for patients affected by rare and debilitating diseases for over 30 years. We accomplish our goals through world-class research and with the compassion and commitment of our employees. With a focus on rare diseases and multiple sclerosis, we are dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of the patients and families we serve. That goal guides and inspires us every day. Genzyme’s portfolio of transformative therapies, which are marketed in countries around the world, represents groundbreaking and life-saving advances in medicine. As a Sanofi company, Genzyme benefits from the reach and resources of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, with a shared commitment to improving the lives of patients. Learn more at

About Sanofi

Sanofi, a global and diversified healthcare leader, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions focused on patients’ needs. Sanofi has core strengths in the field of healthcare with seven growth platforms: diabetes solutions, human vaccines, innovative drugs, rare diseases, consumer healthcare, emerging markets and animal health. Sanofi is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

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Ingrid Esser, 617-768-6699

Source: Business Wire

Tagged: advocacy, grants, Rare Disease Day