Shire Acquires Meritage for $70 MMBy
The specialty pharmaceutical company, Shire plc, has acquired Meritage Pharma, a privately held company, for an upfront fee of $70 million and additional contingent payments based on the achievement of development and regulatory milestones. With the acquisition, Shire has acquired the global rights toâ€”and undertaken the further development ofâ€”Meritage's Phase III-ready compound, oral budesonide suspension (OBS), a drug for treating adolescents eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a rare, chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal (GI) disease.
Shire obtained the rights to acquire Meritage in connection with its $4.2 billion acquisition in 2014 of ViroPharma, a company specializing in developing drugs for rare diseases. OBS is a proprietary viscous oral formulation of budesonide that is designed to coat the esophagus where the drug can act locally. Budesonide is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in several products approved by the FDA, including products for the treatment of asthma, allergic rhinitis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Budesonide is a corticosteroid and has an established safety profile in those diseases. The FDA has granted orphan drug status designation to OBS for the treatment of patients with EoE.