Shire Pharmaceuticals says that it has out-licensed its HIV compound, SPD754, to Australian company, Avexa – one of the final steps in the UK firm’s divestment programme, aimed at concentrating its efforts on what it terms its core therapeutic areas of central nervous system, gastrointestinal and renal diseases [[01/08/03b]].

Under the terms of the deal, Avexa will take on full responsibility for the worldwide development of SPD754, including commercialisation rights throughout the world, excluding North America. The Australian company will receive an undisclosed reciprocal royalty. In addition, Shire will take a $2 million Australian dollar share in Avexa, and will also have an option to acquire four million more shares following the successful completion of a Phase IIb trial. The drug is currently in Phase II trials, with a launch expected to take place in 2009.

Shire’s divestment programme has also seen Shire sell its vaccines unit to Canada’s ID Biomedical for $120 million [[10/09/04d]].