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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.

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