LEXINGTON, Massachusetts, January 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG), announces that it has signed an agreement to acquire Lotus Tissue Repair, Inc. of Cambridge, MA, a privately held biotechnology company developing the first and only protein replacement therapy currently being investigated for the treatment of dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB). DEB is a devastating orphan disease for which there is no currently approved treatment option other than palliative care. Subject to customary government approvals, Shire will purchase the company for an upfront payment and certain contingent payments based on the achievement of certain safety and development milestones. Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) is a set of rare, genetic diseases characterized by the presence of extremely fragile skin and recurrent blister formation resulting from minor mechanical friction or trauma. DEB is one of the more severe of the genetic disorders that comprise EB. Severe cases of DEB may also include internal blistering of the mouth, esophagus, lower GI tract, upper airway and GU tract. Shire's Human Genetic Therapies business will undertake the further development of Lotus Tissue Repair's lead product candidate, a proprietary recombinant form of human collagen Type VII (rC7), an intravenous protein replacement therapy for the treatment of DEB. The product is in late pre-clinical development and has the potential to be a first-in-class systemic therapy for the treatment of DEB. This acquisition expands Shire's commitment to finding treatments for EB, which also includes ABH001, Shire's Regenerative Medicine product currently being investigated as a dermal substitute therapy for the treatment of non-healing wounds in patients with EB. "DEB is one the most devastating orphan diseases, severely impacting the lives of patients and their families, many of whom have few or no treatment options other than palliative care," said Dr. Philip J. Vickers, Global Head of Research and Development, Shire Human Genetic Therapies. "rC7 protein replacement therapy has the potential to provide a first-in-class disease-modifying treatment for these children. We plan to apply our proven ability to develop protein replacement therapies for rare genetic diseases to progress rC7 as a possible groundbreaking treatment that offers hope to patients with DEB." "This acquisition of Lotus Tissue Repair by Shire further underscores the potential of this proprietary rC7 technology to dramatically change the treatment landscape for DEB patients and their families," said Dr. Mark de Souza, founding Chief Executive Officer of Lotus Tissue Repair. "We are thrilled that this program will become part of the innovative pipeline at Shire and the company's growing commitment to this patient community." Lotus Tissue Repair is a private company launched in 2011 by a proven team of biotechnology entrepreneurs, world-leading experts in rC7 protein replacement therapy for DEB and top-tier life sciences investor, Third Rock Ventures.