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Shire Announces FDA Approval of Manufacturing Facility for VPRIV® (Velaglucerase Alfa for Injection) Drug Substance

LEXINGTON, Massachusetts, February 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Shire plc (LSE: SHP, NASDAQ: SHPG), the global specialty biopharmaceutical company, announced today that the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the production of VPRIV® drug substance (velaglucerase alfa for injection) in Shire's manufacturing facility at 400 Shire Way, Lexington, Massachusetts, US. The facility was previously approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for production of VPRIV drug substance.

"FDA approval of Shire's manufacturing facility in Lexington provides greater assurance that Gaucher patients will receive consistent and uninterrupted access to enzyme replacement therapy for the treatment of type 1 Gaucher disease," said Rhonda Buyers, CEO and Executive Director, National Gaucher Foundation.

Shire has invested over $200M in manufacturing infrastructure and technology to establish a consistent drug supply chain to patients that use this treatment. The 400 Shire Way facility is the first commercially licensed facility in the world to utilize single-use bioreactor and disposable technology throughout cell culture processing designed to reduce manufacturing risk.

"Shire has always been committed to providing uninterrupted treatment for all VPRIV patients at the dose and frequency prescribed by their physicians. We continue to deliver on this commitment," said Bill Ciambrone, Executive Vice President, Technical Operations, Shire.

Shire now has two FDA and EMA approved facilities in which to manufacture VPRIV drug substance - the Alewife and the Lexington facilities, both in Massachusetts, US.

About the 400 Shire Way Manufacturing Facility

In keeping with Shire's corporate sustainability commitments, the 400 Shire Way manufacturing plant has met the requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification and received formal recognition from the United States Green Building Council in Q1 2012. In addition to increasing capacity and reducing manufacturing risk, utilization of single-use technology at 400 Shire Way requires approximately 80% less water and 50% less energy than a conventional manufacturing plant.

About VPRIV (velaglucerase alfa)

VPRIV is made in a human cell line using Shire's gene activation technology. The enzyme produced has the exact human amino acid sequence as that found in the naturally occurring human enzyme.

VPRIV is used for the long-term treatment of patients with type 1 Gaucher disease.

VPRIV is approved in over 40 countries globally, including the US, the European Union member states, and Israel, and is for patients previously treated for type 1 Gaucher disease or those who are treatment-naive.

VPRIV Important Safety Information

The most serious adverse reactions seen with VPRIV were hypersensitivity reactions. Infusion-related reactions were the most commonly observed adverse reactions in patients treated with VPRIV in clinical studies. The most commonly observed symptoms of infusion-related reactions were: headache, dizziness, low or high blood pressure, nausea, tiredness and weakness, and fever.  Generally the infusion-related reactions were mild and, in treatment-naïve patients, onset occurred mostly during the first 6 months of treatment and tended to occur less frequently with time.  

All adult side effects of VPRIV are considered relevant to children (ages 4 to 17 years). Side effects more commonly seen in children compared with adult patients included: upper respiratory tract infection, rash, aPTT prolonged, and fever. The safety of VPRIV has not been established in patients younger than 4 years of age.

VPRIV is not available in all countries and prescribing information may differ between countries. Please consult your local prescribing information. Full prescribing information for VPRIV in the U.S. can be found at

Notes to editors

Shire enables people with life-altering conditions to lead better lives.

Our strategy is to focus on developing and marketing innovative specialty medicines to meet significant unmet patient needs.

We provide treatments in Neuroscience, Rare Diseases, Gastrointestinal and Internal Medicine and we are developing treatments for symptomatic conditions treated by specialist physicians in other targeted therapeutic areas.


Statements included in this announcement that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. 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, Shire's results could be materially adversely affected. The risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, that:

  • Shire's products may not be a commercial success;
  • revenues from ADDERALL XR are subject to generic erosion and revenues from INTUNIV will become subject to generic competition starting in December 2014;
  • the failure to obtain and maintain reimbursement, or an adequate level of reimbursement, by third-party payors in a timely manner for Shire's products may impact future revenues, financial condition and results of operations;
  • Shire conducts its own manufacturing operations for certain of its Rare Diseases products and is reliant on third party contractors to manufacture other products and to provide goods and services. Some of Shire's products or ingredients are only available from a single approved source for manufacture. Any disruption to the supply chain for any of Shire's products may result in the Shire being unable to continue marketing or developing a product or may result in Shire being unable to do so on a commercially viable basis for some period of time.
  • the development, approval and manufacturing of Shire's products is subject to extensive oversight by various regulatory agencies and regulatory approvals or interventions associated with changes to manufacturing sites, ingredients or manufacturing processes could lead to significant delays, increase in operating costs, lost product sales, an interruption of research activities or the delay of new product launches;
  • the actions of certain customers could affect Shire's ability to sell or market products profitably.  Fluctuations in buying or distribution patterns by such customers can adversely impact Shire's revenues, financial conditions or results of operations;
  • investigations or enforcement action by regulatory authorities or law enforcement agencies relating to Shire's activities in the highly regulated markets in which it operates may result in the distraction of senior management, significant legal costs and the payment of substantial compensation or fines;
  • adverse outcomes in legal matters and other disputes, including Shire's ability to enforce and defend patents and other intellectual property rights required for its business, could have a material adverse effect on Shire's revenues, financial condition or results of operations;
  • Shire faces intense competition for highly qualified personnel from other companies, academic institutions, government entities and other organizations. Shire is undergoing a corporate reorganization and the consequent uncertainty could adversely impact Shire's ability to attract and/or retain the highly skilled personnel needed for Shire to meet its strategic objectives;
  • failure to achieve Shire's strategic objectives with respect to the acquisition of ViroPharma Incorporated may adversely affect Shire's financial condition and results of operations;

and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in Shire's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K.

SOURCE Shire plc

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