Shire picks up Pervasis in potential $200M deal

Shire ($SHPGY) is buying the biotech Pervasis Therapeutics with an eye toward boosting its regenerative medicine unit, adding the small company's cellular therapy in mid-stage development for vascular repair in patients on hemodialysis. The buyout follows Shire's purchase of Advanced BioHealing last year in a deal that created the business that specializes in cell-based therapies.

Ireland-based Shire didn't disclose the exact deal terms in its announcement today, but the deal could be worth up to $200 million, with the majority of the deal's value linked to the future success of Pervasis' programs in clinical trials and on the market, Jessica Mann, head of global corporate communications at Shire, told FierceBiotech.

Pervasis, a Cambridge-based startup led by former Genzyme executive Frederic Chereau, had been hunting for a partner to bankroll late-stage development of Vascugel. The experimental endothelial cell-based drug aims to boost blood vessel healing and improve access to vessels in patients with kidney disease who require hemodialysis. Shire plans to review Phase II data from the program and complete a mid-stage study that will shine a light on later development, Mann said.

"There are currently no approved therapies that directly target the underlying physiological processes associated with the creation of AV access sites in hemodialysis patients, including inflammation, thrombosis, and restenosis," Kevin Rakin, president of Shire's regenerative medicine unit, stated. "As a result, there remains a significant unmet need for technologies that improve hemodialysis access for patients with [end-stage renal disease]."

Last year, Pervasis's CEO, Chereau, told me that he was in late stages of talks to bring on a corporate partner to help his biotech advance Vascugel into Phase III development, for which the company already had the FDA's consent. He also said the company had raised $46 million in venture capital since its founding in 2004. Shire's Mann told FierceBiotech that Chereau and the startup's one other full-time employee are expected to join Shire during the transition of the biotech's assets to the buyer.

- here's the release