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Horizon swoops on Raptor to add rare disease products

Gains two new orphan medicines through the $800m deal

Horizon Pharma 

Ireland's Horizon Pharma has bolstered its position in orphan diseases with an $800m agreement to buy Raptor Pharmaceutical of the US.

The deal gives Horizon two new orphan medicines - Procysbi (cysteamine bitartrate) for the treatment of the metabolic disease nephropathic cystinosis and recently launched Quinsair (aerosolised levofloxacin) for respiratory infections in patients with cystic fibrosis.

Horizon chief executive Timothy Walbert said the deal strengthens his company's US rare disease business and "provides a platform to expand out orphan business in Europe and other key international markets". Rare disease drugs already account for around 45% of its total turnover.

Raptor booked about $32m in sales from the two products in the second quarter, with the lion's share coming from Procysbi which has been on the market in the US and EU for around three years. 

Quinsair, meanwhile, has been launched in its first European markets and has been approved in Canada. It is the first inhaled quinolone with twice daily administration, room temperature storage and a short administration time in Europe, according to the company. 

The new drug enters a market alongside other products such as Gilead Sciences' Cayston (aztreonam) - and is priced at around the same level - but is expected to be used mostly in CF patients who have exhausted other inhaled antibiotic options.

Based on early-take-up of Quinsair and strong growth for Procysbi Raptor recently raised its sales guidance for the year by around $10m to $125m-$135m. Horizon sales are predicted to be around $1bn this year, not including the new additions.

The deal is Horizon's second acquisition this year after losing out on an earlier $3bn bid to buy specialty drugmaker Depomed. In January it bought Crealta in a deal valued at $510m that brought in Krystexxa (pegloticase), an FDA-approved drug for chronic refractory gout.

Horizon became an Irish company after buying Vidara Therapeutics in 2014 in a tax-inversion deal, and in 2015 also snapped up Hyperion Therapeutics for $1.1bn, taking control of urea cycle disorder (UCD) drug Ravicti (glycerol phenylbutyrate).

Dublin-based Horizon said the Raptor takeover would diversify its product portfolio, giving it 11 medicines across orphan, rheumatology and primary care units. The company did not say much about Raptor's pipeline, which has hit some hurdles of late.

A year ago the company was forced to call time on a non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) drug after it failed a phase IIb trial, and is pressing ahead with a Huntington's disease candidate despite missing its primary objective in a phase II/III study.

Article by
Phil Taylor

13th September 2016

From: Sales

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