Shire expands with $4.2bn acquisition of rare disease specialist ViroPhama

UK pharmaceuticals company Shire announced today that it has agreed to buy rare disease specialist ViroPhama. Shire will buy the US drugs company for $4.2bn (£2.6bn) or $50 per share, representing a 27 per cent premium on Friday's closing price. (Release)

Shire believes the acquisition will strengthen its rare disease portfolio, to which the company is strategically committed. The deal will also add the drug Cinryze, used for the prophylactic treatment of hereditary angioedema, to the company's portfolio.

Shire chief executive officer, Flemming Ornskov MD commented:

The acquisition of ViroPharma will immediately benefit Shire and is entirely consistent with our clear strategic objective of strengthening our rare disease portfolio. It brings us a new growth driving product which augments our already strong growth prospects.

Shire is uniquely positioned to drive the continued success of CINRYZE for the benefit of patients through our knowledge of the rare disease space, our international infrastructure and our biologics manufacturing expertise.

The high profile acquisition comes only days after the UK pharmaceuticals company announced it would be reducing its UK staff by 180 as part of the "One Shire" programme, intended to simplify the structure of the business.