Alexion ends Moderna mRNA pact

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

iStock/Michail_Petrov-96
iStock/Michail_Petrov-96
Alexion Pharmaceuticals says it is reducing R&D operations and terminating mRNA-focused preclinical partnerships.

Under recently appointed CEO Ludwig Hantson’s direction, Alexion will end agreements with Moderna Therapeutics, Blueprint Medicines and Arbutus Biopharma.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said, “We understand their ​[Alexion’s] decision to narrow their focus as part of a new R&D strategy. Moderna remains as committed as ever to advancing first-in-class mRNA therapeutics for patients impacted by serious and life-threatening diseases.”

As part of the R&D development, Alexion is de-prioritising cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate (cPMP) replacement therapy ALXN1101 and ALXN6000 (samalizumab), and will seek to out-license these candidates.

“Moving forward, we will focus our internal research on complement and our development activities in core therapeutic areas of haematology, nephrology, neurology and metabolic disorders which we believe will enhance productivity,”​ said Alexion’s John Orloff.

Soliris

While announcing Alexion’s updated R&D programme as part of its Q2 2017 results, Hantson said leading monoclonal antibody Soliris (ecuilizumab), for atypical Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (aHUS), continued to show positive results.

The firm recorded a 16% net product sale increase for Soliris, from $701m (€598m) in the second quarter of 2016 to $701m in Q2 2017.

“On the R&D side, we received a positive CHMP ​[Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use] opinion for Soliris for refractory gMG and advance a ALZN1210 development programme,”​ said Hantson.

Hantson said the firm is looking to increase its patent portfolio.

“Alexion delivered strong performance in the second quarter of 2017 while also executing on several initiatives to position the company for the future, including strengthening the Soliris patent portfolio.”

Our next avenue of growth for Soliris will come with potential launch in patients with refractory gMG, which will enable us to enter the neurology therapeutic area,”​ said Alexion’s chief commercial officer Brian Goff.

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