Shire Pharmaceuticals said yesterday that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire Transkaryotic Therapies, in a $1.6 billion dollar, all-cash deal.

Under the terms of the deal, which Shire says is consistent with its strategy to develop products for speciality pharmaceutical markets, the UK firm will pay $37 for each outstanding TKT share.

Said Shire’s chief executive, Matthew Emmens: “We expect that TKT’s protein-based drugs and clinical development pipeline based on a proven technology platform will enable us to diversify and broaden our revenue base while continuing to grow our profits and further build our pipeline and platform for growth. We believe that this acquisition positions us well for the near- and long-term.”

Shire says that the purchase, which brings with it two approved products – Fabry disease therapy Replagel (agalsidase alfa) and the anti-anaemia treatment, Dynepo (epoietin delta) – and two late-stage clinical development products, provides a strong strategic and business fit. It notes that TKT’s development pipeline contains enzyme-related drugs, many of which have orphan drug potential and, according to Shire, a high success rate in reaching the market, with a limited number of competitors.

The acquisition is expected to “significantly enhance” Shire’s medium- and long-term product sales and earnings per share growth, but will be EPS neutral in the second full-year following closing.