Cinryze - Shire

Cost: $230,826 per U.S. patient per year

Cinryze is another one of those pricey treatments for a rare disease. The condition it treats, hereditary angioedema (HAE), has only about 18,000 patients between the U.S. and Europe. In particular, Cinryze is designed to prevent acute attacks of swelling in patients with the disorder.

But as pharma knows, a small population plus a high drug price can still equal big sales. So it's perhaps not too surprising that suitors including Sanofi ($SNY) were reportedly circling maker ViroPharma last year.

Ultimately, it was Shire ($SHPG) that prevailed, nabbing the orphan drugmaker for $4.2 billion last November. The Dublin-based drugmaker already has its own HAE treatment, but Shire says it sees the two as complementary: Unlike Cinryze, Shire's Firazyr treats swelling attacks after they occur.

In the first 6 months of 2014, Cinryze netted $215.5 million in sales, and that figure may soon be expanding. The company is pursuing additional new formulations of the drug to prevent HAE attacks in adolescent and adult patients, and it also says it may pursue other therapeutic indications down the line.

For more:
Shire beats Big Pharma to $4.2B deal for orphan drugmaker ViroPharma
Charmed by orphan drugs, suitors line up for ViroPharma

-- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)

Cinryze - Shire
Read more on

Suggested Articles

Johnson & Johnson and Bayer’s Xarelto is working to reverse a sales slide, and a new indication could help.

AZ's FluMist will be dramatically limited in the U.S. this flu season because of production problems, a spokeswoman said.

To get its $12 billion opioid deal off the ground, Purdue Pharma pushed for a stay on thousands of lawsuits against it. Last week, a judge signed off.