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Shire boosts orphan drug pipeline with Meritage Pharma deal

Firm will also acquire global rights to Meritage’s phase III OBS compound

Shire BasingstokeShire has obtained the rights to privately held Meritage Pharma, in connection with its acquisition of ViroPharma in late 2013.

As part of the acquisition, Shire has acquired the global rights to Meritage's phase III compound Oral Budesonide Suspension (OBS) for the treatment of adolescents and adults with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a rare chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal (GI) disease.

Philip Vickers, head of research and development at Shire, commented: “Shire's pipeline and strategic focus on rare diseases is further strengthened with the acquisition of Meritage, which also complements our strong GI capabilities.

“Adding this phase III-ready compound to our late-stage portfolio will allow us to leverage our expertise to further develop this important therapy that, if approved, will give hope to patients living with eosinophilic esophagitis.”

The deal includes a $70m upfront fee, in addition to contingent payments based on the success of unspecified development and regulatory milestones.

The acquisition was made possible in conjunction with the firm's $4.2bn takeover of ViroPharma in November 2013, further expanding Shire's portfolio of rare disease therapies.

Meritage president and CEO, Elaine Phillips, added: “The acquisition of Meritage by Shire, a global biotechnology company with GI and rare disease expertise, may benefit physicians and patients by helping develop OBS to potentially become the first approved treatment in the US indicated for this often disabling disease.”

Meritage Pharma was founded in 2008, with a specialised focus on the development of prescription products for the treatment of gastrointestinal and atopic diseases.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

26th February 2015

From: Sales

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