Sanofi, Shire eye US rare diseases drug maker ViroPharma

US-based drug maker for rare diseases, ViroPharma Inc, has attracted interest from French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi SA and UK's Shire Plc, Bloomberg yesterday reported, citing unnamed sources.

Pennsylvania-based ViroPharma had hired Goldman Sachs for a potential sale of the company, which has a market value of around $2 billion, the report said.

Founded in 1994, ViroPhara developing innovative products that address unmet medical needs.

Its product, Cinryze is indicated for routine prophylaxis against angioedema attacks in adolescent and adult patients with Hereditary Angioedema, a rare and potentially life-threatening genetic inflammatory disorder, while it's other product Vancocin is the only antibiotic approved to treat two significant bacterial infections of the lower digestive tract.

The company is also assessing non-toxigenic C. difficile (VP20621) aimed at preventing the recurrence of disease following effective therapy for acute C. difficile infection (CDI) and preventing CDI in patients who are susceptible to colonisation with toxigenic strains due to prior use of antibiotics.

In June, the European Commission classified ViroPhara's Maribavir as an orphan drug used for treating cytomegaloviral (CMV) disease in patients with impaired cell mediated immunity. 

ViroPharma has previously received orphan drug designation for maribavir in the US for treatment of clinically significant cytomegalovirus viremia and disease in at-risk patients. 

The "Orphan Medicinal Product Designation" is designed to encourage the development of drugs which may provide significant benefit to patients suffering from rare diseases identified as "life-threatening or chronically debilitating" conditions.