According to the terms, Alexion Pharmaceuticals will acquire Massachusetts-based Syntimmune for $400m ($346m), with potential milestone payments of up to $800m for its investigational therapy.
The acquisition marks Alexion’s second major investment in its pipeline this year, after the company agreed to pay $855m for Wilson Therapeutics and its lead candidate WTX101, designed to treat Wilson disease.
SYNT001 is a monoclonal antibody in ongoing Phase Ib/IIa development to treat warm autoimmune haemolytic anaemia (WAIHA). The asset is designed to inhibit the interaction of the neonatal Fc Receptor (FcRn) with Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgG immune complexes.
“WAIHA is a rare autoimmune disorder caused by pathogenic IgG antibodies that react with and cause the premature destruction of red blood cells at normal body temperature,” explained Alexion CEO Ludwig Hantson in an investor call last week.
“The disease is often characterised by profound and potentially life-threatening anaemia and other acute complications. There are currently no approved treatments for WAIHA,” he added.
According to Hantson, the company sees potential for SYNT001 to be applied to a number of indications.
“We have already decided to move forward in WAIHA, and are evaluating which additional rare diseases we will target for SYNT001 development,” he said.
The company plans to initiate a second programme in an undisclosed indication next year, he added.