SAN DIEGO, February 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG), today announced the initiation of a Phase 3 study designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of ABH001, its dermal substitute therapy, for the treatment of non-healing wounds in patients with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a group of rare genetic skin disorders that begin to manifest at birth or early childhood and occur in approximately 19 per 1 million live births in the US. [i] "People affected by EB suffer skin blisters and almost constant, acute pain and scarring," said the study's Principal Investigator, H. Alan Arbuckle, MD, Section Head Pediatric Dermatology Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Wound Care Consultant, Epidermolysis Bullosa Center of Excellence, The Children's Hospital, Aurora Colorado. "The current standard of care is daily wound care, bandaging and pain management. I am excited to be involved in testing the efficacy and safety of ABH001 as a potential treatment option for these patients." ABH001 for EB has been granted an orphan drug designation in the US and EU, and has also received Fast Track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is aimed at facilitating the development and expediting the review of drugs and biologics that fill an unmet medical need. In addition, the European Medicines Agency's Pediatric Committee has agreed on a pediatric investigation plan for ABH001 for the treatment of EB. The new Phase 3 study is a multi-site, prospective, randomized, open-label, intra-subject controlled trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of ABH001 to initiate healing and reduce the wound surface area of selected stalled, chronic cutaneous wounds associated with generalized EB. Approximately 20 subjects with generalized EB aged three years and older are planned to enroll in the trial, which is targeted to be conducted in 10 to 15 sites across the US, Europe and Canada. The study will comprise ABH001 applications sufficient to cover the surface area of the wound, applied topically every 4 weeks with protocol-specified dressings until healed or for up to 24 weeks. "We are excited that Shire Regenerative Medicine has launched this trial," said Brett Kopelan, Executive Director of the Dystrophic EB Research Association of America (DebRA ) and father to a 5-year-old girl with recessive dystrophic EB. "While there is currently no cure for EB, I am encouraged that ABH001 is…targeting the chronic wounds that are the hallmark of this disease. I applaud Shire for pushing this forward and look forward to working closely with them as the trial progresses." "We are very eager to begin evaluating ABH001 as a potential wound treatment option for people with EB. We believe it has the potential to initiate and continue wound healing in this patient population," said Jeff Jonas, MD, President of Shire Regenerative Medicine. "We are committed to developing regenerative medicine solutions that enable people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives, and are encouraged by the fast track and orphan drug designations we have received to further develop this potential therapy for people, most often young children, suffering from this devastating condition." Shire is also developing an intravenous protein replacement therapy for the treatment of dystrophic EB, which the company's Human Genetic Therapies business recently acquired from Lotus Tissue Repair, Inc. Initiation of this pivotal trial of ABH001 for patients with EB further demonstrates Shire's commitment to developing a portfolio of products targeted toward patients who suffer from this disease.