Shire has bought Meritage Pharma for an upfront fee of $70 million and the promise of additional development and regulatory milestone payments, in a move that will add another experimental rare disease drug to its pipeline.

The deal gives Shire global rights to Meritage’s lead compound Oral Budesonide Suspension (OBS), which is ready for Phase III trials assessing its potential to treat adolescents and adults with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), a rare, chronic inflammatory gastrointestinal disease. 

“The acquisition of Meritage by Shire, a global biotechnology company with GI and rare disease expertise, may benefit physicians and patients by helping develop OBS to potentially become the first approved treatment in the US indicated for this often disabling disease,” said Meritage’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Elaine Phillips, commenting on the deal.

Shire obtained the rights to acquire Meritage in connection with its acquisition of ViroPharma in 2014, and notes that the move further enhances its late-stage pipeline and builds upon its rare disease/GI commercial infrastructure and expertise. 

The group is not expecting the deal to change its earnings guidance for 2015.

The deal comes hot on the heels of Shire’s purchase of NPS for $5.2 billion in January, an acquisition that will help achieve its target of doubling revenues to $10 billion a year by 2020, and industry observers believe this isn’t the last of its buying spree.