Niche pharma firms are driving innovation and deals in the sector

 
Courtney Goldsmith
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Amryt is listed on London's junior market (Source: Getty)

Small, nimble pharmaceutical companies laser-focused on developing niche therapies are driving innovation, and deals, in the industry, the boss of a London-listed rare disease specialist has said.

Joe Wiley, the chief executive of rare and orphan disease firm Amryt Pharma told City A.M. a recent flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the pharma sector is propelled by larger companies' needs to fill up their pipelines with the groundbreaking medicines created by smaller firms.

"The industry generally is looking at more niche therapies, targeting more personalised diseases," Wiley said.

Read more: Biotech M&A heats up as Sanofi buys Ablynx for €3.9bn

"We certainly focus our efforts on areas of really high unmet medical need and that’s in our view how to be successful in drug development."

However, when it comes to his own company, Wiley said it is "hard to say" whether Amryt will be one of those companies gobbled up by a global drugmaker.

"We are building a sustainable growth business focused on rare and orphan diseases, and we see ourselves building that and growing that business through acquisitions and organically ourselves. We’re focused on delivering on that for our shareholders," Wiley said.

Amryt recently passed its two-year anniversary of a complicated reverse takeover through which its shares were listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (Aim).

The company, which has built out a commercial infrastructure across Europe and the Middle East, is focused on continuing to boost its business throughout 2018, including through the acquisition of commercial-stage assets.

Wiley said the firm will target US companies looking to establish a European presence. "We're actively pursuing that," he said.

Read more: Rare disease firm Amryt reveals a "major" gene therapy tie-up

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