Shire, Salix buy way to expansion

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Shire expanded its rare-disease portfolio Monday, with the announcement that it has purchased specialty drug company ViroPharma. The $4.2-billion deal moves ViroPharma's Cinryze into Shire's portfolio, along with Plenadren (adrenal insufficiency), Buccolam (seizures), Phase II drug Maribavir (for transplant patients), Phase II compound VP-20621 (for clostridium difficile) and Phase I agent VP-20629 (for Friedreich's Ataxia).

Bloomberg notes that Savvas Neophytou, an analyst at Panmure Gordon & Co., called the deal one “the market had been waiting for.”

The announcement is a bit of a two-step, following last week's news that the company was canning around 180 employees at its Basingstoke, UK, office.

Salix is also expanding. The company announced Friday that it is buying Santarus. The company's excitement about the $2.6-billion deal can be seen on its website, which currently features a pop-up note from CEO Carolyn Logan who calls the deal “transformational for Salix” and one that will allow both companies to expand their reach in ways neither could achieve independently. Both companies offer gastrointestinal therapies.

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