Shire to acquire Dyax for up to $6.5 billion

Shire has hit the acquisition trail again to buy the USA’s Dyax Corp in a deal worth $5.9 billion upfront and extra payments that could total over $600 million more.

Dyax primarily focuses on the development of plasma kallikrein (pKal) inhibitors for the treatment of hereditary angioedema, and already markets Kalbitor (ecallantide) for acute attacks of HAE in patients aged 12 years and older. However what has driven the deal is DX-2930, which is Phase III-ready and has received fast-track and breakthrough designation  from the US Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of type 1 and type 2 HAE.

Shire, which already has Cinryze (C1 inhibitor [human]) in its HAE stable, says DX-2930 could generate estimated annual global sales of up to $2.0 billion.

Shire chief executive Flemming Ornskov said the transaction “aligns with and accelerates our strategy to build a global leading biotechnology company focused on rare diseases and specialty conditions”. He added that “we have closely followed DX-2930’s progress in the evolving HAE landscape for some time, and we admire the work of the Dyax team in moving this next-generation therapy forward”.

He added that Dyax employees will bring to Shire “substantial clinical and commercial expertise in HAE”, saying that “our M&A expertise and the ongoing strength of our business will enable rapid and effective integration following the closing, as demonstrated by the success of our NPS and ViroPharma acquisitions”.

Dr Ornskov concluded by saying that “even with this transaction, we will continue to have the financial firepower to pursue other value-added strategic acquisitions, including Baxalta”. Shire made a $30 billion unsolicited bid for the latter in August which was turned down.