Shares in Shire are on the rise this morning after the firm announced that it has signed up GlaxoSmithKline to co-promote its attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Vyvanse in the USA.

The three-year deal will begin in May and will add considerable marketing weight to push Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine) as a treatment for adults with ADHD. The drug was approved for children aged six-12 in 2007 and got the thumbs-up from the US Food and Drug Administration for the adult indication in April last year.

Michael Cola, president of Shire's Specialty Pharmaceuticals business, said “GSK is our ideal partner to promote Vyvanse because of its strength and leadership in CNS treatments". By collaborating with the drugs giant, “we are better positioned to reach psychiatrists and primary care physicians with treatment information about adult ADHD”.

Specifically, the deal will result in “more than double the reach and frequency of the current sales effort for Vyvanse”, said the company, by adding over 600 sales representatives from GSK who call on specialists and primary care physicians. Shire currently has nearly 600 reps promoting the drug, but primarily to paediatricians and psychiatrists.

Mr Cola added that since its launch, Vyvanse has become “the fastest-growing, once-daily, prescription ADHD treatment in the USA” and has achieved nearly 12% of the market. He said that increased diagnosis and treatment of adults with ADHD “is a significant driver of growth in this category”, and linking up with GSK means that Vyvanse “will be introduced to over 70,000 new physicians”.

No financial details of the collaboration were disclosed but the firms noted that the agreement “is based on profit-sharing above an agreed-upon baseline figure”.
Vyvanse is key to Shire’s future success, as it will replace the older ADHD blockbuster Adderall XR (mixed amphetamine salts) which faces generic competition from Teva, starting next month. Fourth-quarter sales of Vyvanse reached $103.2 million, up 57%, while Adderall XR contributed $275.1 million to Shire’s coffers, down 1%.

News of the deal with GSK has boosted Shire’s share price and at 11.14 UK time it stood at almost £8.50, up 6.5%.