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Shire buys Cambridge company

Shire PLC, an Irish company that has more than 1,650 employees at its Human Genetic Therapies campus in Lexington, said it has agreed to acquire Lotus Tissue Repair Inc., a small Cambridge company, for an undisclosed amount.

Shire’s HGT unit in Lexington develops therapies to treat rare diseases. Lotus Tissue Repair, for its part, is is developing a protein replacement therapy as a potential treatment for dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, or DEB, a devastating rare disease.

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The plan is for Shire HGT to leverage its protein replacement expertise and its focus on rare diseases to continue developing Lotus Tissue Repair’s potential therapy.

Epidermolysis Bullosa is a set of rare, genetic diseases characterized by the presence of fragile skin and recurrent blister formation resulting from minor mechanical friction or trauma. DEB is one of the more severe of the genetic disorders that make up Epidermolysis Bullosa. Lotus Tissue Repair’s lead product candidate is a proprietary recombinant form of human collagen Type VII (rC7), an intravenous protein replacement therapy for the treatment of DEB.

“DEB is one the most devastating orphan diseases, severely impacting the lives of patients and their families, many of whom have few or no treatment options other than palliative care,” Dr. Philip J. Vickers, Shire HGT’s global head of research and development, said in a statement. “rC7 protein replacement therapy has the potential to provide a first-in-class disease-modifying treatment for these children. We plan to apply our proven ability to develop protein replacement therapies for rare genetic diseases to progress rC7as a possible groundbreaking treatment that offers hope to patients with DEB.”

Chris Reidy can be reached at
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