* Shire says deal boosts rare diseases portfolio
* Lumena received multiple approaches
* Says Shire will help it take liver drugs to market
(Adds detail, Lumena CEO comments)
By Paul Sandle
LONDON, May 12 London-listed drugmaker Shire
has bought San Diego-based biopharmaceuticals company
Lumena Pharmaceuticals for at least $260 million in a deal that
gives it promising drugs that could be used to treat rare liver
In the latest in a wave of pharmaceuticals sector
consolidation, Shire, which itself has reportedly attracted the
interest of Allergan Inc, said the Lumina deal would add
to its rare diseases portfolio and strengthen its
Lumena CEO Mike Grey, meanwhile, said that Shire would help
his company take its two liver drugs through the final stages of
development and into the market.
The company acquired the drugs three years ago from Pfizer
and Sanofi, which were devloping them for
different applications before putting them on the shelf.
"We identified some new biology that showed some potential
applications for these compounds in treating liver disease,"
Grey said in a telephone interview on Monday.
The first compound was in seven Phase II studies in four
different diseases caused by the accumulation of high levels of
bile acids that ultimately result in liver failure, he said.
The four diseases have a prevalence between one person in
100,000 and 30 people in 100,000, he said.
The second compound was in development for the treatment of
nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a common and often "silent"
liver disease characterised by fat deposits in the liver and
inflammation that can progress to significant fibrosis, the
Grey said the company had received a number of approaches
and was also considering an initial public offering before
accepting Shire's offer.
He said the group's team of 17 researchers would continue
working on the development of the drugs and would share in some
of the proceeds of the deal, along with the company's other
backers, including founder Pappas Ventures and Alta Partners,
RiverVest Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Adage
Capital Management and RA Capital Management
Shire said it would make an upfront payment of $260 million
in cash, plus a payment for net cash at closing, as well as
near-term contingent milestone payments related to ongoing
The company added that does not expect the acquisition to
result in a change to its previously stated earnings guidance
(Editing by David Goodman)