Shire buys blindness drug maker Premacure

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Irish drugmaker Shire PLC said Tuesday it bought Premacure AB, a private Swedish company that is developing a drug designed to prevent a common cause of blindness in premature infants.

Shire did not disclose terms of the deal, but said it made an upfront payment to Premacure and agreed to make additional payments if the drug reaches development and commercial targets.

Premacure is conducting mid-stage clinical trials of a drug intended to prevent retinopathy of prematurity. Shire said that condition primarily affects infants born prematurely and it can cause blindness. The company said that at present, only the symptoms of the condition can be treated.

Shire said around 15,000 infants are born with retinopathy of prematurity every year in the U.S. About 1,100 require medical treatment and around 500 become legally blind.

Shire, which makes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drugs including Vyvanse and Adderall XR, said the Premacure drug would be its first treatment for a medical condition found in newborns.

Shares of Shire rose 46 cents to $91.80 in midday trading.