Shire has boosted its rare diseases business by acquiring Premacure, a Swedish-based biotechnology company developing a protein-replacement therapy, currently in Phase II development, for the prevention of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Currently, only symptomatic treatment is available for ROP. Shire will purchase Premacure for an up-front payment and certain contingent payments based on the achievement of pre-specified development and commercial milestones.
The acquisition allows Shire to enter a new therapeutic area, namely neonatology, while maintaining its focus on developing novel therapies for the treatment of rare diseases with high unmet medical need. With the acquisition of Premacure, Shire will continue the ongoing Phase II trial, the primary goal of which is to restore the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) levels in the preterm infant to those found during normal in utero development.
Premacure initiated the clinical development of the preventative treatment with a formulation of recombinant human IGF-1 combined with a recombinant version of its naturally-occurring binding protein, insulin-like growth factor-1 binding protein-3. A Phase I trial showed that the levels of IGF-1 were increased to within physiological levels and that administration of the investigational protein to preterm infants is generally well tolerated.