Shire Persists With Drug for Premature Babies After Study Fails

Shire Plc plans to keep developing an experimental treatment for premature babies even after the therapy failed to meet the main goal of a mid-stage study.

The treatment, known as SHP-607, didn’t help reduce the severity of a blindness-causing condition in a study of 121 infants born at least 12 weeks prematurely, Shire said Thursday in a statement. The therapy did show promise in alleviating lung and brain ailments that affect the infants’ development, and the Dublin-based drugmaker said it will discuss late-stage research plans with regulators later this year.

Shire acquired the medicine when it bought Sweden’s Premacure AB in 2013 for an undisclosed price, with the promise of further payments if the therapy met certain development targets. SHP-607 is a protein-replacement therapy containing insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1. Babies born prematurely can lack IGF-1 and the ability of fully-grown fetuses to produce it themselves.

Shares rose 2.1 percent to 4,565 pence at 12:40 p.m. in London, after initially falling on the news.

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