Atlas Venture and Shire Ally to Invest in Early-Stage Rare Disease Therapies

The Cambridge, Mass.-based venture firm Atlas Venture has partnered with the publicly traded, Dublin, Ireland-based biopharmaceutical company Shire Human Genetic Therapies (“Shire”) to explore investment opportunities in early-stage rare disease therapeutics.


CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec 15, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Atlas Venture, an early-stage venture capital firm, today announced that it has entered into a multi-year collaboration with Shire Human Genetic Therapies (“Shire”) to explore investment opportunities in early-stage rare disease therapeutics.

Shire and Atlas will work together to identify strategic investments for early stage venture creation around rare genetic diseases. The partnership leverages Shire’s capabilities and knowledge in the research and development of rare diseases with Atlas’ expertise in the formation and growth of early stage companies.

“As a leader in rare diseases, this partnership is another way for Shire to ensure that we expand into new disease areas and continue to apply cutting edge technologies in this space,” said Philip J. Vickers, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, Shire. “Working with an organization like Atlas provides us with a new source of external expertise that is complementary to our internal capabilities and has a clear focus on Shire’s goal of bringing innovative therapies to patients suffering from rare diseases worldwide.”

The creative alliance structure provides an opportunity early in the venture process to utilize all of Shire’s capabilities in rare diseases from research to commercialization, while leveraging the extensive Atlas network and experience in company formation. Under the agreement, professionals from both Shire and Atlas will be dedicated to work closely together to advance the collaboration effort.

“The partnership with Shire is truly synergistic and leverages our individual strengths to create and fund new startups around high potential medical science early in the R&D cycle,” said Dr. Bruce Booth, Atlas Venture partner. “There is an unmet need for the discovery and development of rare disease therapeutics and we are pleased to partner with a leader in this space.”

Additional terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

About Atlas Venture

Atlas Venture is a leading early-stage international venture capital firm that invests in technology and life sciences businesses. Since inception in 1980, its partners have helped build over 350 companies in more than 16 different countries. For more information visit Atlas’ website at .

About Shire PLC

Shire’s strategic goal is to become the leading specialty biopharmaceutical company that focuses on meeting the needs of the specialist physician. Shire focuses its business on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, human genetic therapies, gastrointestinal diseases and regenerative medicine as well as opportunities in other therapeutic areas to the extent they arise through acquisitions. Shire’s in-licensing, merger and acquisition efforts are focused on products in specialist markets with strong intellectual property protection and global rights. Shire believes that a carefully selected and balanced portfolio of products with strategically aligned and relatively small-scale sales forces will deliver strong results. For further information on Shire, please visit the Company’s website: .


Statements included herein that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties and are subject to change at any time. In the event such risks or uncertainties materialize, the Company’s results could be materially adversely affected. The risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks associated with: the inherent uncertainty of research, development, approval, reimbursement, manufacturing and commercialization of the Company’s Specialty Pharmaceuticals, Human Genetic Therapies and Regenerative Medicine products, as well as the ability to secure new products for commercialization and/or development; government regulation of the Company’s products; the Company’s ability to manufacture its products in sufficient quantities to meet demand; the impact of competitive therapies on the Company’s products; the Company’s ability to register, maintain and enforce patents and other intellectual property rights relating to its products; the Company’s ability to obtain and maintain government and other third-party reimbursement for its products; and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.