Shire works deal with Sanquin so it can boost production of rare disease drug

When Shire ($SHPG) shelled out $4.2 billion for ViroPharma a couple of years ago, it picked up the rare disease drug Cinryze, but what it didn't get in the deal was complete control over manufacturing of the rare disease drug. That had been ceded by ViroPharma to Sanquin Blood Supply. But Shire has now worked a deal with Amsterdam-based Sanquin that will allow it to add more contract manufacturers and so boost production of the treatment.

The Dublin-based Shire announced this week that it will pay Sanquin milestones to handle the transfer of technology to another contract manufacturer.

Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov

"When Shire acquired ViroPharma in January 2014, we inherited an arrangement under which Sanquin was the exclusive manufacturer for Cinryze," Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov said in a statement. "We're pleased that Sanquin was open to expanding our partnership and agreeing to support us as we increase production options..."

The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sanquin will remain a supplier but also will be paid when it hits specific milestones, including successfully transferring the technology for making Cinryze "to a second source manufacturer," Shire said in a statement.

Cinryze which prevents acute attacks of swelling in patients with hereditary angioedema was a key part of its buyout of ViroPharma. Shire already had its own treatment for the malady with its Firazyr and saw an opportunity to own both treatments. The treatment is among the highest priced drugs in pharma. In 2013 it cost $230,826 per U.S. patient per year. The med last year pulled in $503 million in sales but with increased demand, Shire sees the need to up production to realize more revenue from it.

- here's Shire's release