Shire plots an ADHD public spinoff as CEO Ornskov completes a top-to-bottom overhaul

Hard on the heels of winning an approval for its long-lasting version of Adderall for ADHD, Shire says it’s now considering spinning off its blockbuster franchise drugs in that field into a new public company, marking a final restructuring that will leave the Boston-based biotech focused on rare diseases.

Shire said in its Q2 statement Thursday morning that the company has been doing a strategic review of its neurosciences division, considering its options on how best to handle the franchise, and says that a public listing is one big option. Shire’s stock $SHPG jumped more than 3% on the news.

A spinoff would include the newly approved Mydayis, designed to work over 16 hours a day, as Shire positioned its pipeline to protect a dominant ADHD franchise, with $2.4 billion in sales last year for Adderall XR and Vyvanse. Mydayis is set to launch in this quarter.

Flemming Ornskov

“We are at an exciting inflection point,” said CEO Flemming Ornskov in a statement, “with both our rare disease and neuroscience businesses performing strongly and each having significant growth potential over the coming years. The strength and scale of our business provides us with the opportunity to further optimize our franchise portfolio — one of our key priorities communicated earlier this year. By year end, we expect to complete a formal evaluation of the full range of strategic options for the neuroscience franchise, including the potential for its independent public listing.”

Ornskov and his team have remade the company during his 4-year tenure as CEO. Relying on its mainstay drugs for a steady source of cash, Shire bagged Baxalta last year in a $32 billion buyout, setting the company on course to streamline operations and focus on building its rep for rare diseases.

In the meantime, generic versions of Adderall have been eating into the franchise, making this particular decision a choice between its aging franchise meds and its development of new therapies for rare diseases.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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