Shire will acquire Lumena Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company with rare disease pipeline assets, for an upfront payment of $260 million in cash, plus a payment at closing and near-term contingent milestone payments related to ongoing clinical trials.
The acquisition complements Shire's strategic focus on rare diseases and provides a future growth path for Shire's gastrointestinal business, which generated revenues of over $800 million in 2013. Shire is gaining experience in liver disease with the opportunity to leverage its existing GI commercial infrastructure. In addition, there is a good fit with Shire's recent acquisition of Fibrotech, which has brought pipeline programs to address unmet patient need in other fibrotic conditions, including renal impairment.
Lumena Pharmaceuticals brings two new oral therapeutic compounds: LUM001, in phase II with four potential orphan indications; and LUM002, to enter phase II later in 2014.
LUM001 and LUM002 are both inhibitors of the apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter (ASBT), which primarily is responsible for recycling bile acids from the intestine to the liver. Blocking bile acid transport with ASBT inhibitors reduces bile acid absorption and has the potential to improve liver function and relieve disease symptoms (such as extreme itching associated with cholestatic liver diseases), and may slow disease progression.
These rare cholestatic liver diseases primarily are treated by hepatologists and gastroenterologists and can be covered by a small, specialty sales force consistent with Shire's model.
Shire does not expect the acquisition of Lumena to result in a change to its previously stated earnings guidance for 2014.