Lexington’s Shire HGT looks to develop therapy for rare eye disorder in infants

Shire HGT of Lexington will look to help develop a therapy to treat a rare eye disorder in infants, thanks to an acquisition by its Irish parent company.

Irish drug company Shire PLC said Tuesday that it has acquired a Swedish company with promising therapy for a rare eye disorder.

The Swedish company is Premacure AB, and it is developing a protein replacement therapy for the prevention of retinopathy of prematurity, or ROP. ROP is a rare and potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants and is one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood.

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Shire operates its Human Genetic Therapies division, known as Shire HGT, from a $500 million campus in Lexington. About a year ago, it reported having nearly 1,400 full-time employees in Massachusetts.

In a Tuesday press release, the company said the acquisition will allow Shire HGT to enter a new therapeutic area – neonatology – while maintaining its focus on developing novel therapies for the treatment of rare diseases with high unmet medical need.