With an eye toward snapping up a late-stage orphan drug for hereditary angiodema--a rare genetic disease--Shire has agreed to pay $521 million to acquire Berlin-based Jerini. That's a whopping 73 percent premium on Jerini's share price at Wednesday's close. Shire made it clear that it wants to add Firazyr to its portfolio. The therapy is expected to gain European approval later this year.
Jerini's other assets will undergo a "strategic review" following completion of the sale. Those other assets that may go on the sales block include Jerini Ophthalmic, a U.S. subsidiary working on wet age-related macular degeneration, and JPT Peptide Technologies GmbH, a manufacturing operation.
Annual sales of Firazyr are estimated at $350 million to $400 million a year. But Jerini has run into trouble with the FDA, which issued a non-approvable letter on the therapy. Shire, though, says it is confident that the agency's questions have been addressed.
"The proposed acquisition of Jerini would bring to Shire a new drug that is highly complementary to our HGT portfolio," says Shire CEO Angus Russell (photo). "Consistent with our strategy, Firazyr is a product which satisfies a high unmet medical need and treats a morbidly symptomatic disorder. With orphan designation in both Europe and the U.S., and a launch in Europe in the second half of this year, the acquisition will bring near term revenues as well as contribute to Shire's longer-term growth."