San Diego Business Journal

Lumena Acquired by Shire for $260 Million

Monday, May 12, 2014
Mike Grey. -- Photo courtesy of Lumena Pharmaceuticals

Mike Grey. -- Photo courtesy of Lumena Pharmaceuticals

Lumena Pharmaceuticals has been snapped up by Irish drugmaker Shire PLC for $260 million, scrapping the San Diego biotech's plan to raise $75 million in an initial public offering.

Lumena, which has several drugs in development that treat rare liver disease, has been on a fast track for the past year. Founded in 2011 by North Carolina investment firm Pappas Ventures, Lumena announced a $23 million Series A round in May 2013 and raised $45 million in Series B financing this March.

The company announced in early April that it had filed for the $75 million IPO, but CEO Mike Grey said the company was concurrently in talks to get acquired. Shire’s proposition won out, he said.

The move to purchase Lumena, a San Diego company squarely set in the rare disease space, is an interesting move: Earlier this year, Shire shed its San Diego subsidiary for a potentially hefty loss of $650 million, selling the assets of its Torrey Pines-based subsidiary that made a living skin product called Dermagraft in January to Massachusetts-based Organogenesis Inc.

The company’s 17 employees will likely stay on board to help the Shire transition over the course of the next year; Lumena’s drug programs will then be absorbed into Shire’s other operations.

“Shire doesn’t plan to have a long-term presence in San Diego,” Grey said.

For more on this story, see the May 19 edition of the San Diego Business Journal.