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Shire to work on eye-disease drug

Shire HGT, of Lexington, will seek to help develop a therapy to treat a rare eye disorder in infants, thanks to an acquisition by its Irish parent company.

The Irish drug company Shire PLC said Tuesday that it has acquired a Swedish company with promising therapy for the disorder. The Swedish company, Premacure AB, is developing a protein replacement therapy to prevent retinopathy of prematurity, or ROP, a potentially blinding disorder that primarily affects premature infants. It is one of the most common causes of vision loss in childhood.

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Shire operates its Human Genetic Therapies division, known as Shire HGT, from Lexington. About a year ago, it reported having nearly 1,400 full-time employees in Massachusetts.

In a press release, the company said the acquisition will allow Shire HGT to enter a new therapeutic area, neonatology, while maintaining its focus on developing novel therapies for the treatment of rare diseases.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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