Shire in deal to buy US drug specialist

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Shire has agreed to buy US rare disease specialist Dyax Corp for about $5.9bn (£3.8bn) – and potentially up to $6.5bn – while still pursuing a five times larger unsolicited bid for Baxalta.

The Dyax deal, the latest in a series of purchases by the acquisitive Dublin-headquartered company, will give it access to the drug developer’s late-stage experimental treatment for a dangerous inflammatory disease that can block breath- ing.

It comes amid a record wave of deal-making in the broader healthcare sector so far this year, which amounted to $477bn as of last week.

The offer price of $37.30 per share represents a 35.5 per cent premium to Dyax’s closing stock price on Friday.

Dyax shareholders will also get a non-tradable contingent value right potentially worth $4.00 a share, or an additional $646m, if Dyax’s DX-2930 drug, which could reach the market in 2018, is approved for hereditary angioedema.

Shire has been locked in a three-month battle to acquire Baxalta, although a drop in its shares has led some investors to suspect that takeover bid – worth $30bn when it was announced in August – may flounder.

But Shire chief executive Flemming Ornskov insisted his group had capacity to do both deals.