SD at Center of Shire’s Plan for Regenerative Medicine Business

6/14/12Follow @bvbigelow

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markets for Dermagraft, and determining if the living skin patch also would be suitable for treating other types of sores. The next product would be “Vascugel,” an experimental vascular repair technology (currently in mid-stage trials) that came with Shire’s acquisition of Cambridge, MA-based Pervasis two months ago. “Those are our two products, but we’re out there scouting for additional [products,]” he adds. “The could be licenses, they could be acquisitions, they could be programs.”

Vascugel is being investigated as a way to improve hemodialysis access for patients with end-stage renal disease. But Vascugel still faces late-stage clinical trials as well as the trials that go with submitting a new drug application to the FDA. If those steps prove successful, Rakin says he plans to move Vascugel manufacturing to San Diego.

Rakin cited Shire’s $1.6 billion acquisition of Transkaryotic Therapies (TKT), a Boston-area startup now known as Human Genetic Therapies (HGT) as a paradigm for building the regenerative medicine business. “Shire’s kind of got a history of acquiring base businesses in interesting future areas of medicine, and then building up around that,” Rakin says. Today, HGT is a leading player in replacement therapy for rare genetic diseases.

“Really, the skills that Shire brought to them, which they are now bringing to regenerative medicine, are scale-up of manufacturing, doing additional M&A [mergers & acquisitions], doing further development, and global expansion of the product or products.” Like San Diego’s ABH, TKT was generating “a couple hundred million in revenue when they bought it, and [seven] years later, it’s well over $1 billion,” Rakin says.

In San Diego, he adds, “We have a nice base business, but what we can do with Shire, again, is ramp-up manufacturing, expand globally, and acquire additional products. To do all that, we need additional infrastructure. We’re in quite a few different buildings now, we need to kind of bring everybody together on one campus, and we need additional capacity.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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