"The acquisition of Premacure by Shire further underscores the potential to change the long-term outlook for preterm infants with ROP and their families," said Jan Borg, founding CEO of Premacure. "We are excited that this program will become part of the innovative pipeline at Shire and believe that their experience and resources may accelerate the development of a product that seeks to prevent some of the devastating long-term consequences of ROP."
Premacure AB is a private company launched in 2006 by entrepreneurs and internationally recognized clinicians in the area of neonatology.
Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants weighing less than 2 pounds (about 1kg) who are born before 31 weeks of gestation (a full term pregnancy has a gestation of 38-42 weeks). The smaller a baby is at birth, the more likely that baby is to develop ROP. This disorder, which usually develops in both eyes, is one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood and can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness.In the US and EU, there are approximately 87,000 and 54,000 premature infants (born) born annually. Each year approximately 14,000-16,000 preterm infants in the US are affected by some degree of ROP. In 1,100-1,500 of these infants the ROP is severe enough to require medical treatment, and consequently 400-600 infants become legally blind. About Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 IGF-1 is primarily produced by the liver and supports normal childhood growth and development. Administration of IGF-1 to premature infants, as a substitute for the maternal and endogenous source, allows for the establishment of a physiological level of the hormone comparable to that present in utero. Such a treatment is believed to promote normal development and thereby prevent the development of complications of ROP.