Small Molecule

Shire Acquires Meritage Pharma

Feb 24, 2015

Shire announced it has acquired Meritage Pharma Inc. for an upfront fee of $70 million and additional contingent payments based on the achievement of development and regulatory milestones. According to a press release, Shire has acquired the global rights to — and undertaken the further development of — Meritage’s Phase 3-ready compound, Oral Budesonide Suspension (OBS), for the treatment of adolescents and adults with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE).

This acquisition enhances Shire’s late-stage pipeline and builds upon the company’s rare disease and GI commercial infrastructure and expertise. Shire obtained the rights to acquire Meritage in connection with its acquisition of ViroPharma in 2014.

Shire’s head of research and development, Philip J. Vickers, Ph.D., said: “Shire’s pipeline and strategic focus on rare diseases is further strengthened with the acquisition of Meritage, which also complements our strong GI capabilities. Adding this Phase 3-ready compound to our late-stage portfolio will allow us to leverage our expertise to further develop this important therapy that, if approved, will give hope to patients living with eosinophilic esophagitis.”

Meritage’s president and CEO, Elaine Phillips, Ph.D., said, “Meritage has worked closely with gastroenterologists, patients and their caregivers to develop Oral Budesonide Suspension, which was the first medication to significantly reduce eosinophilic inflammation and related symptom endpoints in patients with eosinophilic esophagitis in a Phase 2 clinical trial. The acquisition of Meritage by Shire ... may benefit physicians and patients by helping develop OBS to potentially become the first approved treatment in the U.S. indicated for this often disabling disease.”

Read the full release