San Diego Business Journal

Biopharmaceutical Company’s Purchase Complements Its Acquisition of Local Biotech

By Julie Gallant Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Specialty biopharmaceutical company Shire plc of Dublin recently acquired Cambridge, Mass.-based Pervasis Therapeutics in a strategic alliance that builds on Shire’s acquisition of La Jolla biotech Advanced BioHealing last year.

Shire will provide Pervasis with an undisclosed upfront payment, plus potential post-closing milestone payments that are dependent on Shire’s achievement of certain clinical development, regulatory and sales targets.

The asset acquisition adds Pervasis’ endothelial cell technology to Shire’s regenerative medicine business, according to an April 12 news release.

Pervasis’ lead program, Vascugel, addresses a significant unmet medical need for acute vascular repair technologies focused on improving hemodialysis access for patients with end-stage renal disease, or ESRD. With diabetes being the leading cause of ESRD, Pervasis’ Vascugel therapy complements Advanced BioHealing’s Dermagraft, which is indicated for diabetic foot ulcers — a condition highly prevalent among diabetic dialysis patients.

Jeffrey Jonas, Advanced BioHealing’s senior vice president of research and development for specialty pharma and regenerative medicine, said the acquisition brings significant synergies in manufacturing and technology.

“We’re very familiar with the diabetes space and complications with diabetes,” he said. “The Pervasis acquisition is a marriage of multiple synergies.”

With major operations in Boston, Philadelphia, the London area and Switzerland, Shire brings a wealth of expertise to San Diego in its three core businesses: regenerative medicine, specialty pharma and rare diseases. Jonas said the goal of the Pervasis acquisition is to build or craft a larger business around it, with opportunities in stem cells, wound healing or other cellular tissue-based medicine.

“It’s an obvious next step,” he said. “We’ll continue to grow our franchise and leverage our expertise as well as Shire’s expertise.”