Drugs Firm Shire Buys ViroPharma for 42Billion

Drugs Firm Shire Buys ViroPharma for $4.2 Billion

The acquisition will allow for one company to offer two complementary treatments for hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic inflammatory disorder.

LONDON -- British drug group Shire said Monday that it has agreed to buy U.S.-based rare disease specialist ViroPharma for about $4.2 billion in cash.

The cash deal was pitched at $50 per ViroPharma share, a premium of 27% compared with the closing level on Friday.

Pennsylvania-based ViroPharma Inc, which is listed in New York, is an antiviral pharmaceutical group whose leading product is Cinryze. The drug is used in the treatment of hereditary angioedema (HAE), a rare genetic inflammatory disorder.

Shire, which is listed on the London stock market but based in Ireland, already produces Firazyr, a drug used to treat acute attacks of hereditary angioedema.

"The acquisition of ViroPharma will immediately benefit Shire and is entirely consistent with our clear strategic objective of strengthening our rare disease portfolio," said Shire COE Flemming Ornskov.

"It brings us a new growth-driving product which augments our already strong growth prospects."

He added: "Shire is also excited by the prospect of being able to offer two complementary treatments, Firazyr for the treatment of acute HAE attacks and Cinryze for prophylactic treatment of patients suffering from HAE."

Shire predicted the deal would generate annual cost savings of $150 million by 2015.

ViroPharma had total worldwide net revenues of $428 million last year. The group forecasts that revenues will climb to between $445 million and $465 million in 2013.

"By joining with Shire, ViroPharma will become part of a larger, more diverse biopharmaceutical company and will benefit from Shire's innovation, scale and global reach," said ViroPharma Chief Executive Vincent J. Milano.

"We will have access to resources to expand product distribution, giving us a platform to provide our crucial therapies, such as Cinryze, to more patients than ever before. We look forward to working with Shire's team and to being part of an even stronger, more geographically diverse organization."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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