6. Buyer: Shire
Target: ViroPharma
Price: $4.2 billion

Under restructuring program "One Shire," CEO Flemming Ornskov said the Irish drugmaker ($SHPG) would put a special emphasis on specialty pharma in its clinical work and M&A. So while it surprised some with its November pickup of orphan drugmaker ViroPharma, beating out the likes of Sanofi ($SNY), analysts called the deal strategically sound.

The star of ViroPharma's portfolio is Cinryze, a hereditary angioedema treatment with a $350,000 price tag. The disease affects just 18,000 patients in the U.S. and Europe, and Shire already has its own treatment in Firazyr. But Shire sees the two as complementary--Cinryze prevents acute attacks of swelling in patients with the disorder, while Firazyr is used to treat them. And ViroPharma also boasts the in-development cytomegalovirus therapy maribavir, tagged as an orphan drug in both the U.S. and Europe.

Shire said it intends to wring out $150 million in savings from the combined company in 2015 in addition to cost cuts already underway at the time of the buyout. Back in November, the drugmaker said ViroPharma would add to its bottom line immediately, a few months later forecasting a 7% boost to earnings for the remainder of 2014.

And that's exactly what Shire wants from its new acquisition. It's looking to diversify beyond its traditional focus, ADHD; blockbuster Vyvanse currently brings in a quarter of the company's yearly product sales, generating $1.2 billion in 2013.

For more:
Special Report: 2013's The 25 most influential people in biopharma today - 2013 - Flemming Ornskov
Shire steers Vyvanse toward binge eating as earnings come up aces
Shire is not quite to the finish line with ViroPharma
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)


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