13.03.2013 - British Shire plc has broadened its therapeutic scope to neonatology by the strategic acquisition of Swedish Premacure AB of Uppsala.
The privately held biotech company is running a dose finding, safety and efficacy Phase II programme for the most common cause of visual loss in childhood – the prevention of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP). Currently, only symptomatic treatment is available for ROP. Shire will purchase Premacure for an undisclosed upfront fee and success-dependent milestones.
In ROP, preterm infants (born before 31 weeks of gestation) lack specific growth factors, such as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which supports normal childhood development and which is involved in ROP. The Swedish have developed a first-in-class recombinant protein replacement therapy termed rhIGF-I/rhIGFBP-3 (insulin-like growth factor-1 binding protein-3) for the orphan disease. The company believes administration of IGF-1 to premature infants, as a substitute for the maternal and endogenous source, allows for the establishment of a physiological level of the hormone comparable to that present in utero.
Shire said it will continue the ongoing Phase II study, the primary goal of which is to restore the IGF-1 levels in preterm infants to those found during normal in utero development. „ We will build on the work that Premacure has done and will apply Shire’s proven ability in developing protein replacement therapies for rare disorders to bring this much needed therapy to the market,” said Flemming Ornskov, CEO Designate of Shire. The treatment targets a patient population of 1,100–1,500 in the US alone .
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