Shire has made a bid to acquire Belgium's Movetis, a move which will boost its portfolio of gastrointestinal products and gives it access to the constipation treatment Resolor.

Under the terms of the deal, which is unanimously supported by the board at Movetis, Shire is offering 19 euros for each share in Movetis, which had 100 million euros in cash at the end of March. This represents a 74% premium to the Turnhout-based biotech’s closing share price on Monday and up 55% on Movetis’ intial public offering price in December last year.

Shire says that the acquisition of Movetis brings to the firm “world-class R&D talent and a promising GI pipeline, including two projects in early clinical development and several pre-clinical leads. The deal is “value and growth enhancing” and “adds immediate revenues”, thanks to Resolor (prucalopride).

The latter is approved in the 27 countries of the European Union as well as Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway and is indicated for the symptomatic treatment of chronic constipation in women in whom laxatives fail to provide adequate relief. Movetis is also entitled to royalties on sales of Resolor outside of Europe from partner Johnson & Johnson.

The latter drug has patent protection extending through 2020 and Shire estimates potential annual peak sales of over 300 million euros. Mike Cola, president of Shire’s Specialty Pharmaceuticals business, said the deal “provides a highly complementary fit for our GI business unit and supports our strategy of expanding our specialty product portfolio into international markets”. He added that the deal is “aligned with our strategy of developing and commercialising medicines to address symptomatic diseases treated by specialist physicians, in this case gastroenterologists”.

Shire's GI franchise is headed by Lialda (mesalazine) for ulcerative colitis which grew 68% to $236 million in 2009. In a research note, Lazard Capital said a high unmet medical need exists in the chronic constipation market and that Shire's estimates for Resolor “are not unreasonable” while other observers believe the deal reduces the company’s reliance on its attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder franchise, headed by Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) and the off-patent Adderall XR (mixed amphetamine salts).