Shire, a global specialty biopharmaceutical company, has acquired Fibrotech, an Australian biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of drugs associated with fibrosis, for an up-front payment of $75 million plus certain development and regulatory milestone payments.
Shire will undertake further development of Fibrotech's lead product FT011, which has completed a phase Ia study in healthy volunteers and currently is in a phase Ib study in patients with diabetic nephropathy. Subject to successful completion, the first phase II study is expected to enroll Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) patients next year. FSGS is a rare disease that affects the kidney's filtering system causing serious fibrosis (scarring). Eighty-five percent of cases are idiopathic and most patients progress to end-stage renal disease.
Shire also acquired Fibrotech's library of novel molecules, including FT061, in preclinical development with a similar mode of action to FT011. It is an oral small molecule with the potential to address both the inflammatory and pro-fibrotic components of fibrosis.
Phil Vickers, Shire head of R&D, said, "The acquisition of Fibrotech is a strategic step in expanding Shire's pipeline with a novel, clinical-stage, anti-fibrotic agent that strengthens our growing and innovative portfolio targeting renal and fibrotic diseases. There have been significant advances in the scientific understanding of fibrosis and the use of biomarkers to support clinical development, which makes now a good time to invest in these promising assets targeting a novel mechanism of action."
The closing of the acquisition is subject to customary conditions, including approval of Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board.