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Shire buys Pervasis to expand regenerative medicines business

Irish pharma company will gain rights to Vascugel to enhance blood vessel repair

Shire has boosted its regenerative medicine business with the purchase of most of the assets of Pervasis Therapeutics, including its Vascugel product for haemodialysis patients.

Vascugel is currently in phase II testing for enhancing blood vessel repair and improving haemodialysis access for patients with end-stage renal disease, and is scheduled to enter phase III testing later this year.

Before patients can undergo haemodialysis, an arteriovenous (AV) access site must be created where blood can be removed, filtered and returned to the body.

Unfortunately, complications following these surgical procedures are common, with around 60 per cent failing after one year because of problems such as infections blood clots or blood vessel narrowing.

Vascugel is placed over the AV access site to regulate the body's healing response following surgery.

"There are currently no approved therapies that directly target the underlying physiological processes associated with the creation of AV access sites in haemodialysis patients, including inflammation, thrombosis, and restenosis," commented Shire's regenerative medicine head Kevin Rakin.

"We believe Vascugel has the potential to enhance the rate of blood vessel repair while also providing for increased maintenance of the access site for a prolonged period of time as compared to current treatments," he added.

There are around 600,000 people in the US and more than 250,000 in the EU currently being treated for ESRD.

Shire said Vascugel would sit well alongside its own regenerative medicine business, particularly its Dermagraft product for treating diabetic foot ulcers, as diabetes is one of the principal causes of ESRD.

Shire acquired Dermagraft via its takeover of Advanced BioHealing in June 2011, and recorded $105m from sales of the product last year.

Beyond Vascugel, the Pervasis acquisition provides Shire with an endothelial cell technology platform that could generate additional regenerative medicine products.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Shire said it will provide Pervasis with an upfront payment, plus potential post-closing milestone payments dependent on clinical development, regulatory and sales targets.

13th April 2012

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