Screen Shot 2018 06 19 at 10.40.15 AMBy Mitchell Young

NEW HAVEN, AMSTERDAM: Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. [NYSE: ALXN] has taken another, albeit small step to extend its drug portfolio. The company has made an investment and development partnership with Complement Pharma an Amsterdam NV start up [founded in 2017] biotech company focusing on “complement inhibition to modify neurodegenerative disease progression.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Alexion will provide Complement Pharma with up to $16 million in milestone-dependent payments through Phase 1b development. While the current investment is modest, Alexion has also negotiated the ability to outright purchase CP during the term of the agreement.

The start-up investment shows the long-, term nature of Alexion’s attempts to diversify its portfolio. Revenues from any drugs coming from the partnership if the drugs are successful in clinical trials, are likely several years down the line.

In April, Alexion announced that it had agreed to purchase Swedish pharmaceutical firm [Alexion Acquisition - A Pick for the Long Haul] Wilson Therapeutics AB (publ) for $855 million, in an all cash transaction. Wilson Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company, based in Stockholm, Sweden, that develops “novel therapies for patients with rare copper-mediated disorders.“

Explaining the investment in CP, Alexion’s Head of Research and Executive VP John Orloff, M.D., said, “Alexion has been a pioneer in complement biology since the development of Soliris, the world’s first complement inhibitor, which has demonstrated the significant impact that C5 inhibition can have on several diseases caused by uncontrolled complement activation.” He added that CP’s technology is directed at a different target than Alexion’s current drugs, “this collaboration provides an exciting opportunity to expand on our more than two decades of complement expertise to potentially treat additional diseases by targeting C6, a different component of the complement system.”

According to a description on Wikipedia, “The complement system is a part of the immune system that enhances (complements) the ability of antibodies and phagocytic cells to clear microbes and damaged cells from an organism, promotes inflammation, and attacks the pathogen's cell membrane. It is part of the innate immune system.”

“Our understanding of the role of complement in many disorders continues to increase and many neurodegenerative diseases show activation of the complement system, even in early stages of disease,” said Frank Baas, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Complement Pharma.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alexion and Complement Pharma will collaborate on the development program for CP010. Complement Pharma will be responsible for conducting preclinical and Phase 1 studies and for manufacturing CP010. The phased agreement extends through the completion of Phase 1b development.