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12 November 2013Americas

Shire acquires ViroPharma in $4.2 billion orphan drug deal

UK-based drugmaker Shire plc announced on November 11 that it had acquired rare disease biopharmaceutical company ViroPharma in an agreement worth approximately $4.2 billion.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP advised on the transaction, which is expected to close by the first quarter of 2014, subject to antitrust approval.

The merger expands Shire’s rare disease portfolio with the addition of orphan drug Cinryze, which is used in the treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE). Shire expects Cinryze to create a $2 billion revenue business and to complement its Firazyr injection.

HAE is a rare genetic disease that causes sudden attacks of swelling or inflammation in the skin and other parts of the body. Shire estimates that of the approximately 8,000 HAE patients in the US, only 3,500 are actively managing the disease.

As part of the deal, Shire will acquire ViroPharma’s portfolio of marketed products including Plenadren, a drug for adrenal insufficiency in adults, and Buccolam, a treatment for prolonged seizures in infants.

Shire will also acquire ViroPharma’s pipeline products, including phase 2 drugs Maribavir and VP20621, which are being tested for the treatment of cytomegalovirus infection in transplant patients and the prevention of recurrent clostridium difficile infection respectively; and phase 1 product VP-20629, a drug for nervous system disease Friedreich’s Ataxia.

Shire chief executive Flemming Ornskov said that the acquisition of ViroPharma is consistent with the company’s strategic objective of strengthening its rare disease portfolio.

“Shire is uniquely positioned to drive the continued success of Cinryze for the benefit of patients through our knowledge of the rare disease space, our international infrastructure and our biologics manufacturing expertise,” he added.

Vincent Milano, ViroPharma’s chief executive, said: “After thoroughly evaluating our strategic options we determined that this transaction is in the best interests of ViroPharma, our shareholders and our patients.

“By joining with Shire, ViroPharma will become part of a larger, more diverse biopharmaceutical company and will benefit from Shire’s innovation, scale and global reach.”

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