Shares in Shire rise as the pharma firm's dry eye drug nears Europe-wide approval

Courtney Goldsmith
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Lifitegrast, if approved, would be the first and only new class treatment to address the signs and symptoms of dry eye disease in adults in Europe (Source: Getty)

Shares in pharmaceuticals firm Shire edged up today after the company revealed the UK had validated marketing approval of its dry eye drug.

The FTSE 100 company's shares lifted 2.16 per cent to 3,875p in morning trading as Shire moved closer towards Europe-wide approval of its drug lifitegrast, which would be the first of its kind in Europe.

The UK is the reference member state under Europe's decentralised procedure, which means Shire's marketing authorisation application (MAA) was also submitted in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece.

Read more: Hunt and Clark issue veiled threat over post-Brexit drugs deal

Shire made its MAA on 7 August, and the firm's development programme consisted of five clinical trials with more than 2,500 patients.

"This submission is another important milestone for lifitegrast and the millions of patients living with dry eye disease," said Howard Mayer, head of clinical development at Shire.

"Shire is committed to continued innovation in ophthalmics, where there are opportunities to address unmet need and improve the lives of patients."

The company had its dry eye treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the brand name Xiidra last year.

Shire prepares for a shake-up

Earlier this month, Shire, which makes Adderall to treat ADHD, said it started a strategic review of its ADHD division that could potentially break the company into two listed firms.

Spinning off its neurosciences business would allow Shire to focus on its rare diseases unit, which makes up the largest part of its revenues and where it says it is the undisputed market leader.

Chief executive Flemming Ornskov said the company was at an "inflection point" with both businesses having strong pipelines for growth.

In the first half of the year, Shire's revenue grew 77 per cent to just over $7bn (£5.4bn). Operating profit rose 40 per cent to $896.3m.

Read more: Shire looking fit as sales rise after its $32bn takeover of Baxalta in 2016

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