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Shire relocates R&D headquarters to US

Published on 03/06/04 at 05:50pm

Shire Pharmaceuticals has relocated its research and development headquarters to the US as the company looks to increase its penetration into the world's largest pharmaceutical market.

The move is part of an organisational restructure announced in March, and sees the company shift its R&D operations to share a single site with its commercial operations at a new location in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Shire is a mid-sized speciality pharmaceutical company, focusing on treatments in three areas: central nervous system (CNS), gastrointestinal (GI) and renal diseases, and generates 70% of its $1 billion plus revenues in the US.

Shire is following in the footsteps of another UK-based company GlaxoSmithKline, which shifted its headquarters to the US in all but name after it merged in 2001.

Dr Wilson Totten, the company's existing UK-based head of R&D will step down from his role to make way for Dr Eliseo Salinas, formerly head of Wyeth CNS research programme.

The company says Dr Salinas and other company executives will spend time in both the US and UK, according to the needs of the business, with what it calls 'considerable R&D resources' remaining at its Basingstoke site.

Dr Totten was unable to relocate to the US because of family commitments, but will remain in charge of special corporate projects, including mergers and acquisitions and the continued development of Fosrenol, the company's new drug which helps control potentially damaging phosphate levels in patients with chronic kidney disease.

The drug received its first European approval in Sweden in March, and the company hopes to have launched the product throughout the continent by the end of 2004, with discussions still ongoing with the FDA on US approval.

Shire has five more drugs in the registration phase, with eleven products in total scheduled for launch before 2007.


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