Shire Remains Tight-Lipped on Status of Facilities, Employees Inherited from Newly-Acquired Dyax
January 26, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff
BOSTON – Following Shire ’s $5.9 billion acquisition of Dyax Corp. , a question remains as to what will happen to that company’s 140 employees and its corporate facilities that sit about seven miles from Shire’s Boston-area based headquarters, the Boston Business Journal reported this morning.
Dyax employs about 140 employees, but Shire declined to say anything public about their possible termination due to redundant duties. A Shire spokesperson told the Boston Business Journal that the company has been “impressed by the talented employees at Dyax and look forward to officially welcoming them to Shire."
Shire completed its acquisition of Dyax, the maker of Kalbitor, a treatment for attacks of hereditary angioedema, on Jan. 22. Dyax is developing DX-2930, a treatment for hereditary angioedema, which has shown tremendous success in treating patients, including an 88 percent reduction in attacks. That success in HAE was one of the driving reasons for Shire Pharmaceuticals, which has its own HAE treatments, Cinryze and Firazyr, to acquire the company. Cinryze is expected to generate $765 million. In October, Cinryze received Fast Track Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in subjects with Antibody Mediated Rejection in renal transplant recipients.
When Shire’s acquisition was complete, Flemming Ornskov, Shire’s chief executive officer, said Dyax will be a good fit for the company.
“The addition of Kalbitor and DX-2930 to our portfolio strengthens our leadership position in HAE and, along with the commercial and research and development expertise at Dyax, is a clear strategic fit for us that advances our position as the global leader in rare diseases,” Ornskov said in a statement.
Hereditary angioedema is a very rare and potentially life-threatening genetic condition that occurs in about 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 50,000 people. HAE symptoms include episodes of swelling in various body parts including the hands, feet, face and airway, according to the Hereditary Angioedema Association’s website. Additionally, patients often have bouts of excruciating abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting that is caused by swelling in the intestinal wall. Airway swelling is particularly dangerous and can lead to death by asphyxiation, the organization said. HAE patients have a defect in the gene that controls a blood protein called C1 Inhibitor. The genetic defect results in production of either inadequate or non-functioning C1-Inhibitor protein.
The Dyax deal is the latest in Shire’s M&A activity. Earlier this month, Shire finalized an agreement to acquire Illinois-based Baxalta . In July Baxalta Incorporated, a pharmaceutical spinout of Baxter launched with hopes of fielding 20 new products by 2020. Since its spinoff, Shire Pharmaceuticals has been going back and forth with Baxalta in an attempt to acquire the company. Nine days after Baxalta launched, Shire approached the company with a stock-only deal worth almost $31 billion. In early August, Shire went public with the offer in hopes of pressuring the Baxalta board and shareholders into considering the deal. After six months, the Baxalta board agreed to the deal, which is valued at about $32 billion.
The merger of Shire and Baxalta will create a pharmaceutical company with one of the largest rare disease platforms. The pipeline will include Baxalta’s hematology drug, Adynovate, Antihemophilic Factor (Recombinant), PEGylated, to treat hemophilia A, and Hyqvia, a next-generation subcutaneous immunoglobulin (IG) product to treat patients with primary immunodeficiency.