Shire’s licence for Renovo’s novel anti-scarring drug Junista has become effective, after the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Act expired on August 10.

The company unveiled its plans to purchase exclusive development and commercialisation rights outside of the European Union for Junista - in development for the prevention and reduction of scarring from therapeutic or cosmetic surgery - in June, for an initial equity investment in Renovo of $50 million and $75 million in cash, plus various milestone and royalty payments dependent on achieving certain development and sales-based goals.

Shire certainly seems excited about Junista’s prospects. According to Renovo, the US market alone could be worth $4 billion, with 42 million patients undergoing surgery each year. And Shire points to consumer research in the USA showing that 85% of patients would “self pay for the reduction or prevention of scarring.”

Furthermore, it points out, current options are limited to treatment of existing scars and not prevention of scarring, adding to the product’s market potential.

Juvista is due to enter Phase III testing next year, and has already given an impressive performance in Phase II trials, showing statistical and clinically significant improvements in scarring when injected at the time of surgery, the company said.