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Shire plc recently entered into an agreement to acquire FerroKin BioSciences, Inc. As per the terms of the agreement, Shire will make an upfront payment of $100 million and up to $225 million as regulatory, development and commercial milestones upon the achievement of certain pre-specified conditions.

FBS0701, the lead pipeline candidate at FerroKin, is a once-daily oral treatment currently in phase II studies for patients with transfusional iron overload. The presence of surplus iron in the liver, heart and other vital organs leads to dysfunction and failure of the organs.

Transfusion-dependent patients often die due to iron overload. The company intends to seek approval for indications like myelodysplastic syndrome and hemoglobinopathies with potential launch in 2016.

This acquisition will strengthen Shire’s hematology portfolio and is in line with the company’s strategy of targeting specialist markets with strong patent protection and global rights.

Shire has formed a number of alliances to expand its pipeline. In January, the company acquired the US rights of Resolor from Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Analyst Report) company.

Soon after this, in February, the company entered into a collaboration and license agreement for the development of products for hemophilia and other monogenic diseases with Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (SGMO - Snapshot Report). These products will be developed using Sangamo’s zinc finger DNA-binding protein (ZFP) technology. More recently, in March, Shire entered into an agreement with arGEN-X to create novel treatments for rare genetic diseases.

Our Recommendation

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Shire. The stock carries a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy rating) in the short run.

Shire’s recent collaborations and acquisitions (including Movetis and Advanced BioHealing Inc.) have added immense potential to its pipeline. With several of its products already facing or likely to face generic competition, the company’s pipeline needs to deliver.

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