Shire will cut UK R&D to focus on rare diseases


Shire Pharmaceutcals has begun an employee consultation process as it seeks to discontinue a significant proportion of research and development activities at its historic UK base in Basingstoke. The move is part of an ongoing restructuring plan that will see the company focus on treatments for rare diseases.

The Basingstoke site employs around 170 researchers, but many of the research programmes they are engaged in fall outside of Shire’s new target areas, and will be halted. The company has not yet confirmed how many will lose their jobs. The site will continue to provide corporate and support functions in the UK.

Meanwhile, Shire has agreed to pay $4.2 billion (£2.6 billion) for rare disease specialists ViroPharma. The deal brings Shire a clutch of drugs, including Cinryze (C1 esterase inhibitor [human]) for prophylactic treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE). Shire’s own HAE drug, Firazyr (icatibant), can be used to treat acute attacks of the disease, so the two treatments are complementary.

The deal also includes treatments for adrenal insufficiency and seizures in children and infants, as well as several candidates in Phase II clinical trials.


Related Content

Shire fends off AbbVie takeover bid

23 June 2014 Business

news image

Board says deal undervalues the company and its growth potential

Orphans come in from the cold

30 August 2011 Premium contentFeature

news image

Rare diseases are less rare than you might think, reports Bea Perks, and finding drugs for them can mean big business

Most Read

No-frills coats set a trend for designer viruses

26 August 2014 Research

news image

An artificial protein that self-assembles around and protects DNA could be ideal for gene therapy, nanomachines and synthetic...

Rigid molecular wires make electrons fly

29 August 2014 Research

news image

Organic wires conduct electrons 800 times faster than other molecular counterparts by letting them hitch a ride on a vibratio...

Most Commented

Rigid molecular wires make electrons fly

29 August 2014 Research

news image

Organic wires conduct electrons 800 times faster than other molecular counterparts by letting them hitch a ride on a vibratio...

Concerns over chemical treatment of reclaimed fracking fluid

29 August 2014 Research

news image

Current recycling procedure may do more harm than good