SAN RAFAEL -- BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ: BRMN) today said it has acquired San Diego-based Zacharon Pharmaceuticals, a private biotechnology company focused on developing small molecules targeting pathways of glycan and glycolipid metabolism.

Under terms of the stock purchase agreement, BioMarin paid $10 million upfront for all of Zacharon's share capital and may make potential additional payments for clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones.

"The acquisition of Zacharon will further expand our glycobiology expertise and will support our lysosomal storage disease drug development efforts," said Jean-Jacques Bienaime, chief executive officer of BioMarin in a statement. "We are committed to investing in our advancing pipeline, which has evolved through a combination of internal development and targeted acquisitions, such as this."

Zacharon drug-discovery projects include two ongoing lead-optimization programs, inhibition of heparan sulfate synthesis for MPS III and other MPS disorders, and inhibition of ganglioside synthesis for diseases such as Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff. Zacharon's proprietary SensiPro platform is a powerful technology for analysis of specific carbohydrate structures and therefore the identification of candidate drugs to treat those conditions.

The costs to be incurred in 2013 of acquiring Zacharon and absorbing its operations is covered by the previously provided 2013 research-and-development expense guidance, according to BioMarin.

The price of BioMarin shares was nearly $52 a share at 10:50 a.m. Pacific Time, down about 1 percent, or around 50 cents, from the Friday closing price.