By Sten Stovall
Shire PLC (SHP.LN) is buying the assets of U.S.-based Pervasis Therapeutics in a deal that brings a new technology aimed at improving blood vessel repair for dialysis patients to the U.K. drug maker's regenerative medicine business.
A specialist in hyperactivity and rare genetic diseases, Shire is also expanding its activities in regenerative medicine to find products for replacing human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function.
Toward that end, Shire on Thursday said it will pay Pervasis an undisclosed upfront payment, plus milestones if Pervasis' lead product, a cell-based therapy called Vascugel, hits certain clinical, regulatory and sales targets. No financial terms were disclosed.
Pervasis, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is developing acute vascular repair technologies for patients with end-stage renal disease, or ESRD, which is an advanced and irreversible kidney disease. There are around 600,000 people in the U.S. and more than 250,000 in the EU currently being treated for ESRD.
Shire said its deal with Pervasis will make a strong strategic fit with its existing Dermagraft treatment for diabetic foot ulcers.
Diabetes is the chief cause of ESRD, while diabetic patients on dialysis have a greater risk of developing a diabetic foot ulcer than diabetics not receiving dialysis treatment.
Shire's head of regenerative medicine, Kevin Rakin, said that "this acquisition marks a very important step for Shire in building a regenerative medicine business focused on tissue repair and regeneration."
He told Dow Jones Newswires that Vascugel is currently in mid-stage clinical trials and will be progressing to late-stage Phase III testing soon. Vascugel has received Orphan Product designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and from the European Medical Agency. If all goes well, marketing authorization could be sought for Vascugel by 2017, Rakin said.
Pervasis will give Shire a new cell-based technology platform called endothelial cell technology that has global potential. "We are looking at generating other products out of this platform," Rakin said.
"We're building our regenerative medicine activities because we believe it's one of the next big areas of medicine and so this adds to the Dermagraft purchase and we're building up our pipeline now. We're committed to doing this."
- By Sten Stovall, Dow Jones Newswires; +44 207 842 9292; firstname.lastname@example.org