Shire is splashing out 328 million euros to buy Jerini, giving it access to the German biotechnology company’s icatibant for the treatment of hereditary angioedema.

The UK firm is to offer 6.25 euros in cash for each Jerini share, compared with a closing price of 3.65 euros last night. The deal represents a 199% premium over Jerini’s average stock price during the three months prior to the offer.

Initially, Shire has already subscribed for just over 5.2 million shares of Jerini at a total issue price of approximately 21 million euros, or 9% of the increased share capital. It has also entered into purchase agreements with the chairman of Jerini, Jens Schneider-Mergener, and a number of major institutional shareholders, corresponding to approximately 53% of the Berlin-based group, prior to the capital increase. The acquisition will be funded out of Shire's current cash resources and is expected to be boost earnings by the second half of 2010.

The attraction of Jerini lies in icatibant, the treatment for HAE, a debilitating and potentially life-threatening genetic disease characterised by unpredictable recurring swelling attacks in the hands, feet, face, larynx, and abdomen. Sylvie Gregoire, president of the Shire Human Genetic Therapies unit noted that icatibant, which will be sold as Firazyr, is the first “quickly accessible product to treat HAE patients offered in a convenient pre-filled syringe for subcutaneous administration”.

Shire chief executive Angus Russell noted that the drug, a first-in-class bradykinin blocker, has orphan designation in both Europe and the USA, and a launch in the former is scheduled for the third quarter. He added that the acquisition “will bring near term revenues as well as contribute to Shire's longer term growth'' and Firazyr is forecast to have peak annual global sales of around $350-400 million during the next decade, half of which will come from Europe.

Shire added that it will undertake a strategic evaluation of Jerini’s other assets to determine if they are compatible with its portfolio. These include Jerini Ophthalmic, a US subsidiary which is developing a treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration and JPT Peptide Technologies, a manufacturing operation which produces complex synthetic peptides.