Genzyme Corp. on Tuesday said the Israeli Ministry of Healthhas approved Ceredase (alglucerase injection) for patients inIsrael with type 1 Gaucher disease. The FDA approved the drugin the U.S. in April 1991.

The Cambridge, Mass., company said it plans to treat 150patients in Israel. There are 2,000 to 3,000 Gaucher patients inthe U.S. and about the same number in other countries.

Doctors in Israel will start patients on very low dosages ofCeredase, then raise the dosage to get results, said companyspokeswoman Donna LaVoie. The annual per-patient cost inIsrael is expected to be about $10,000 to $50,000 comparedwith an annual cost in the U.S. of $30,000 to $200,000. LaVoiesaid American doctors usually start their patients at higherdosages in intensive therapy, and U.S. costs are coming down asphysicians use smaller doses.

Genzyme is trying to bring down maintenance dose costsworldwide to between $20,000 and $60,000, she said.

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