Shire started the new year with the acquisition of the US based Lotus Tissue Repair (Lotus). At the time of writing, no details regarding the purchase value have been published. Lotus is a privately held biotechnology company launched in 2011. Lotus was led by a proven team of biotechnology entrepreneurs including Mark De Souza, ex VP at Dyax Corp and some illustrious investors including Third Rock Ventures who have enjoyed some success investing in rare diseases. Lotus is currently developing the first and only treatment for Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (DEB). Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a group of rare genetic conditions that cause the skin to be very fragile and to blister easily. Mutations in the gene cause defects in the protein type VII Collagen which are crucial for the connective tissues in the body. DEB is one of the major forms of EB. The signs and symptoms of this condition vary widely among affected individuals.
Shire’s Human Genetic Therapies (HGT) business will continue development of Lotus’s lead candidate which is a proprietary recombinant form of human collagen Type VII (rC7). The product is currently in late pre-clinical development and has the potential to be a first-in-class systemic therapy for DEB. The acquisition extends Shire’s commitment to developing treatments for EB which includes ABH001, Shires Regenerative Medicine Product which is currently being investigated.
The acquisition brings another product into Shires Rare Disease portfolio and underlines Shires commitment to the EB patient community. Shire is also currently investigating the use of DERMAGRAFT in the treatment of EB and the project is currently in phase II trials.
To read the full press release from Shire please click here.