Shire pays $20M for Parion’s midstage dry eye drug

P-321 targets tear volume deficiency and promotes ocular surface healing, and is currently in phase 2.

Shire will pay $20 million upfront, with a potential $535 million biobucks if all goes according to plan, for Parion Sciences’ dry eye candidate P-321 as it looks to boost its ophthalmology pipeline.

The deal sees Shire gain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize P-321, where it will also lead development. The biopharma added that Parion will have “an opportunity to co-fund” work on the medication.

P-321 works as an epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) inhibitor and is in phase 2, targeting tear volume deficiency and promoting ocular surface healing. ENaC is believed to block the absorption of tears, and help keep the ocular surface hydrated; current meds target the effects of ocular inflammation, so Parion thinks it has a different med on its hands than those on the market.

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“Ophthalmics is a continued focus for Shire, and the program for P-321 will benefit from our development and commercial infrastructure and expertise,” said Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov, M.D., M.P.H.

“This is an opportunity to apply our knowledge and experience from ophthalmics and dry eye disease for further innovation in this space. If approved, P-321 would expand our eye care portfolio.”

“Advancing P-321 with Shire, an emerging global leader in ophthalmics, offers the expertise and resources to move this promising potential therapy for dry eye sufferers forward," added Paul Boucher, president and chief executive of Parion.

“This collaborative license agreement enables us the opportunity to contribute and participate in P-321’s success, while continuing our drive to progress Parion’s pipeline of novel therapies.”

Full financial details were not on show, but Shire will stump up $20 million in the form of a license payment, with an additional $20 million payment in the works if things go well in the shorter term. Longer term, Parion could see the deal worth up to $535 million in biobucks if it ticks all of the milestone boxes.

The biotech also has the option to co-fund through additional stages of development in exchange for boosted royalties. It can also choose to co-fund any sales push and “participate in the financial outcome from those activities,” according to the pact.

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