LEXINGTON, Massachusetts, February 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- - Global Initiatives Underscore Company's Long-Term Commitment to the Rare Disease Community Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG) today announced its support of Rare Disease Day, joining patients, healthcare providers, and patient organizations around the world to support a day that focuses attention on rare diseases as a public health issue, and highlights the need for more understanding and awareness about these diseases. Observed annually on the last day of February, Rare Disease Day is coordinated at the international level by the European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS) and the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) in the US. The Rare Disease Day 2013 slogan is "Rare Disorders Without Borders" to convey the global solidarity of the rare disease community worldwide and the need for collaboration and mutual support in the field of rare diseases. According to EURORDIS and NORD there are between 6,000 and 8,000 known rare diseases affecting approximately 30 million Europeans and 30 million Americans. As a leader in rare diseases, Shire's Human Genetic Therapies (HGT) business focuses its work on researching, developing, and marketing therapies for Fabry disease, Hereditary Angioedema, Hunter syndrome, and Gaucher disease, and has built and invested in a pipeline of innovative products and solutions for rare diseases. "Shire's purpose is to enable people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives - and for us, this includes improving access to information and diagnosis as well as providing much-needed treatment for rare diseases," said Sylvie Grégoire, President of HGT. "Rare Disease Day is an occasion to show our commitment to the rare disease community. We hope that this day can highlight the need for consistent, reliable, and effective treatments and services for patients and give hope to those affected by rare diseases."