) recently announced its intention to acquire privately held
biopharma company, SARcode Bioscience Inc.
Financial terms of the deal include an upfront payment of $160
million along with clinical, regulatory, and/or commercial
milestone payments to SARcode shareholders. The acquisition is
expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2013.
With this acquisition, Shire will gain a phase III candidate,
Lifitegrast, which is being developed for the treatment of dry
eye disease. The phase III program includes three studies -
OPUS-1, OPUS-2 and SONATA. Provided the development and
regulatory process goes smoothly, Shire could be in a position to
launch this candidate in the US as early as 2016. The global
rights to Lifitegrast will remain with Shire - the company
intends to explore a suitable filing strategy for the candidate
in ex-US markets. According to information provided by Shire, dry
eye disease is estimated to affect 25 million people in the
Shire has been working on growing its presence in the
ophthalmology market. The SARcode deal is the second
ophthalmology-related deal to be announced by the company this
month. Earlier this month, the company had announced the
acquisition of Premacure, which added a protein replacement
therapy for the prevention of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) to
The ophthalmic pharmaceutical market was valued at $13 billion
worldwide in 2012.
Shire currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently,
Lannett Company, Inc.
WuXi Pharma Tech (Cayman) Inc.
) look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
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