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Shire acquires Swiss biotech Premacure

Gains phase II eye drug for rare infant condition

Shire has acquired Premacure in a pipeline-boosting deal that gives it access to a late-stage treatment for a rare and potentially blinding eye disorder in premature infants.

Swedish biotech Premacure's protein replacement therapy for the prevention of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood, is currently in phase II trials.

Shire said the deal would allow its Human Genetic Therapies (HGT) business to enter a new therapeutic area - neonatology - while continuing to focus on novel therapies for the treatment of rare diseases with high unmet medical need.

Currently, only symptomatic treatment is available for ROP, a life-long complication preterm infants (those born before 31 weeks of gestation) can suffer from that may stem from losing certain growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).

Shire HGT will continue Premacure's ongoing phase II study, the primary goal of which is to restore the IGF-1 levels in the preterm infant to those found during normal in utero development. 

Flemming Ornskov, CEO designate at Shire, said: “ROP is a devastating eye disorder that can severely impact preterm infants for the rest of their lives. This investigational protein has the potential to provide a first-in-class treatment that may minimise the development and impact of complications arising from ROP. 

“We will build on the work that Premacure has done and will apply Shire's proven ability in developing protein replacement therapies for rare disorders to bring this much needed therapy to the market.”

Shire will purchase Premacure, which is based in Uppsala, Sweden and was set up in 2006, for an unspecified upfront payment and development and commercial milestones.

13th March 2013

From: Research

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