Nimbus, Shire to co-develop rare disease therapies

Nimbus Discovery LLC, a Cambridge biotechnology company, said Wednesday it has forged a co-development agreement with Shire plc that will focus on small molecule treatments for several rare genetic diseases.

Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

Shire operates from a $500 million campus in Lexington. About a year ago, it reported having nearly nearly 1,650 full-time employees in Massachusetts.

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Shire’s new chief executive recently cited the development of treatments for rare diseases as a company priority.

The agreement between Shire and Nimbus looks to focus on small molecule treatments for several rare genetic diseases known as lysosomal storage disorders, or LSDs. LSDs are inherited metabolic disorders caused by a lack of enzymes that normally eliminate unwanted substances in human cells. Lysosomal storage diseases predominantly affect children, many of which die within a few months or years of birth if untreated.

Under the agreement, the plan is to use Nimbus’s computational chemistry approach to discover and develop disease-altering therapies, Nimbus said in its press release.

This is the first deal announced through Shire’s strategic alliance with Atlas Venture, which identifies investments for early stage venture creation around rare genetic diseases.