Shire, the drug maker from Dublin, has successfully acquired the U.S. based Meritage Pharma for at least US$70 million. The move has allowed Shire to advance its gastro drug market.
Shire stated that they have gained rights to buy Meritage, a privately held firm, in a connection with its US$4.2 billion acquisition of rare diseases specialist in 2014, Viropharma. If regulatory and development milestones are met, the fee could possibly be increased.
The deal follows the one made by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, involving a US$10.1 billion acquisition of Salix Pharmaceuticals, the gastro drug maker. The firm also said that they will continue on to make smaller deals.
Shire has gained rights to the Phase 3 ready compound by Meritage, the Oral Budesonide Suspension. The drug is used for the treatment of adults and adolescents who suffer from eosinophilic esophagitis.
Philip J. Vickers, the R&D head of Shire, said that the company’s pipeline and focus on rare diseases is consolidated with the acquisition of Meritage. The addition also complements the firm’s GI capacities. With the phase 3 compound added to their late stage portfolio, the company will leverage their expertise to further create similar important therapies. Should the therapies be approved, it could give hope to the patients living with the disorder.
Elaine Philips, President of Meritage, said that the company has worked very closely with GI specialists, the rare disease patients and their caregivers to develop the compound. It was the first medication of its kind to significantly reduce eosinophilic inflammation and the overall symptoms of the disease in a phase 2 trial.