(Reuters) - Pharmaceutical company Shire Plc SHP.L said it had bought New York-based Foresight Biotherapeutics Inc for $300 million in cash, gaining access to a late-stage therapy being developed for the treatment of pink eye.
Shire, which formed an ophthalmics unit in May last year, is awaiting a U.S. FDA decision on its dry-eye disease treatment, lifitegrast. A decision is expected by October.
The company’s acquisition of Foresight gives it access to the global rights to FST-100, which has showed promise in a mid-stage study.
Shire said it would conduct a phase-3 trial for FST-100 to evaluate whether it could also be used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis.
The drug has the potential to become the first one to treat both viral and bacterial conjunctivitis, cutting the costs and risks associated with unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions for pink eye.
Pink eye, or infectious conjunctivitis, is highly transmissible and affects about 5.9 million people in the United States every year and about 5.4 million people across the European Union.
There is no therapy available to resolve the clinical signs and symptoms and to eradicate adenovirus, which is the most common cause of viral conjunctivitis.
Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Don Sebastian