Shire acquires Foresight Biotherapeutics for US$300m in cash


Boosting its ophthalmics portfolio with late-stage treatment for pink eye

Pharmaceutical company Shire has purchased New York-based, privately held Foresight Biotherapeutics for US$300m in cash, gaining access to a late-stage treatment for infectious conjunctivitis or pink eye.

The acquisition also strengthens Shire’s late-stage pipeline and has a clear strategic fit with the company's dry eye treatment lifitegrast, which is in late-stage development, and further demonstrates the firm’s commitment to becoming market leader in ophthalmics.

Shire said it would conduct a Phase III trial for FST-100 to evaluate whether it could also be used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis.

The drug has the potential to become the first agent to treat both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Ophthalmics is a highly-attractive growth area for Shire

'With the acquisition of Foresight Biotherapeutics, Shire demonstrates its commitment to eye care while advancing its strategy of addressing high unmet medical need through transformative treatments for rare diseases and specialty medicines,' said Flemming Ornskov, CEO of Shire. 'Ophthalmics is a highly-attractive growth area for Shire and this acquisition allows us to strengthen our presence in this therapeutic area. FST-100 and lifitegrast, if approved, would address two of the leading reasons people seek eye care treatment.'

There are 5.9 million cases of infectious conjunctivitis annually in the US and approximately 5.4 million cases in the EU annually.

There is no therapy to resolve the clinical signs and symptoms and eradicate adenovirus, which is the most common cause of viral conjunctivitis.

In May 2014, Shire established its Ophthalmics Business Unit, solidifying its commitment to growing in this therapeutic area.

The firm's growth in ophthalmics has been driven by a combination of acquisitions and organic growth. Acquisitions in the last two years include SARcode Bioscience, Premacure AB, and BIKAM Pharmaceuticals.

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The company currently has an ophthalmics pipeline of investigational products in dry eye, retinopathy of prematurity, autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, and now adenoviral and bacterial conjunctivitis.