Shire has acquired New York-based, privately held Foresight Biotherapeutics for $300 million. With the acquisition, Shire acquires the global rights to FST-100 (topical ophthalmic drops combining 0.6% povidone iodine (PVP-I) and 0.1% dexamethasone), a therapy in late-stage development for the treatment of infectious conjunctivitis, an ocular surface condition commonly referred to as pink eye. This acquisition further strengthens Shire’s late-stage pipeline, has a clear strategic fit with lifitegrast, which is in late-stage development for treatment of dry-eye disease, and further demonstrates Shire’s commitment to building a leadership position in ophthalmics.
Currently no therapy exists to resolve both clinical signs and symptoms and eradicate adenovirus, which is the most common cause of viral conjunctivitis. Approximately 50% of infectious conjunctivitis cases have a viral etiology, and 65% to 90% of these are caused by adenovirus. Viral conjunctivitis is highly infectious and transmissible, causing lost work and school days as well as increased healthcare costs and risks from unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. There are 5.9 million cases of infectious conjunctivitis annually in the U.S. and about 5.4 million cases in the E.U. annually.
If approved by regulatory agencies, FST-100 has the potential to become the first agent to treat both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis. This is noteworthy because it is frequently difficult to ascertain the etiology of the condition based on clinical presentation.
Shire has acquired the global rights to FST-100 and will evaluate an appropriate regulatory filing strategy for additional markets outside the U.S.