Alexion to Acquire Achillion for $930 Million

October 16, 2019

The transaction gives Alexion access to Achillion’s portfolio of oral small-molecule Factor D inhibitors to treat people with complement alternative pathway-mediated rare diseases.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a Boston, MA-based biopharmaceutical company focused on rare diseases, announced that it is acquiring Achillion Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company in Blue Bell, PA, for $930 million. 

The transaction gives Alexion access to Achillion’s portfolio of oral small-molecule Factor D inhibitors to treat people with complement alternative pathway-mediated rare diseases including paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), a rare, life-threatening blood disorder, and C3 glomerulopathy (C3G), an ultra-rare kidney disease, according to an Oct. 16, 2019 press release. Alexion will also have access to two of Achillion’s clinical-stage medicines in development, danicopan (ACH-4471) in Phase II and ACH-5228 in Phase I.

“We have established great momentum-discovering and advancing several small molecules into clinical development that have the potential to treat immune-related diseases associated with the alternative pathway of the complement system,” said Joe Truitt, president and CEO of Achillion, in the press release. “Having already demonstrated proof-of-concept and proof-of-mechanism with our lead candidate, danicopan (ACH-4471), in PNH and C3G, respectively, we believe there is significant opportunity for Factor D inhibition in the treatment of other diseases as well.”

The acquisition also includes the possibility of non-tradeable contingent value rights for Achillion shareholders if clinical and regulatory milestones are achieved within specified periods, including $1.00 per share for FDA approval of danicopan and $1.00 per share for ACH-5228 Phase III initiation, according to the release. 

“Targeting a different part of the complement system-the alternative pathway-by inhibiting Factor D production addresses uncontrolled complement activation further upstream in the complement cascade, and importantly, leaves the rest of the complement system intact, which is critical in maintaining the body’s ability to fight infection,” said Ludwig Hantson, PhD, CEO of Alexion, in the press release. “We believe this approach has the opportunity to help patients with diseases not currently addressed through C5 inhibition. We look forward to applying our nearly three decades of complement and development expertise to unlock the potential of oral Factor D inhibitors and bring these benefits to patients.” 

The transaction is expected to be completed during the first half of 2020. 

Source: Alexion