Shire buys SARcode Bioscience for at least $160 million

Shire P.L.C. will buy SARcode Bioscience Inc., which is developing a treatment for dry eyes, in a deal worth at least $160 million.

The pharmaceutical company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Wayne, said the acquisition will give it control of a compound called Lifitegrast, which is currently in late-stage clinical trials.

About 25 million people in the United States are thought to suffer from dry eye disease, of which 9 million are candidates for prescription drug treatment, Shire said.

SARcode, based in Brisbane, Calif., is privately held. American depositary receipts of Shire closed down 0.1 percent or 9 cents to $90.61 in trading Monday.

Shire, with global headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, said that terms of the agreement call for additional payments should SARcode's lead product attain certain milestones. The transaction is scheduled to close during the second quarter.