Alexion Pharma Dives Into C6 Inhibition in a Development Deal That Could Lead to Acquisition of Complement Pharma


With plans to seek regulatory approval for ALXN1210, long-acting C5 complement inhibitor seen as a successor to the blockbuster drug Soliris, Alexion Pharmaceuticals is forging a partnership with Complement Pharma to co-develop a C6 complement inhibitor.

John Orloff, Alexion’s head of research and development, said his company has been a pioneer in complement biology since the development of Soliris, the world’s first complement inhibitor. Soliris, Orloff added, has “demonstrated the significant impact that C5 inhibition can have on several diseases caused by uncontrolled complement activation.” Now the company is turning its eyes to C6 inhibition and Complement Pharma’s CP010, a humanized monoclonal antibody in preclinical development.

Alexion announced it will partner with Complement on the development of CP010 for neurodegenerative disorders. The company said C6 inhibition will prevent the formation of the destructive membrane attack complex (MAC), which is a complex of terminal complement proteins that mediate cellular injury following complement activation. Additionally, C6 inhibition has the potential to treat a variety of central nervous system disorders, Alexion said.

“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,” Orloff said in a statement.

CP010 binds to C6 in circulation to inhibit its function throughout the body by preventing MAC formation in both the periphery and the central nervous system. CP010 has demonstrated C6 inhibition in vitro and in vivo. C6 inhibition prevents the formation of the MAC following complement activation which may allow treatment of a variety of central nervous system disorders, Alexion said.

“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, co-founder and chief scientific officer of Complement Pharma. “We believe that C6 inhibition has the potential to treat multiple neurodegenerative disorders, and we look forward to working with Alexion, a partner with a worldwide leading position in complement biology, to realize the possibilities of this approach.”

Under terms of the deal, Alexion will pay Amsterdam-based Complement up to €14 million in milestone-dependent payments through Phase Ib development. The agreement also provides Alexion with the option to acquire Complement Pharma during the term of the agreement. Complement was formed in 2017 with a focus of developing C6 complement inhibition into clinical products for patients with acute and chronic neurodegenerative diseases. Alexion and Complement Pharma will collaborate on the development program for CP010. Complement Pharma will be responsible for conducting preclinical and Phase I studies and for manufacturing CP010.

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