Alex­ion joins the R&D re­or­ga­ni­za­tion gala, prun­ing a slate of projects and revving up new deals

Alex­ion CEO Lud­wig Hantson is pulling the trig­ger on a pipeline re­or­ga­ni­za­tion, join­ing a mid-year gala of re­struc­tur­ings led by new CEOs at Glax­o­SmithK­line, Eli Lil­ly and Bio­gen.

In the re­vamp the biotech will now drop ALXN1101 (cPMP re­place­ment ther­a­py) and ALXN6000 (samal­izum­ab), look­ing for buy­ers to pick these ther­a­pies up. And it is punt­ing an am­bi­tious ef­fort on a range of pre­clin­i­cal pacts with Mod­er­na, Blue­print and Ar­bu­tus.

Alex­ion shares surged 6% in pre-mar­ket trad­ing on a very newsy morn­ing.

Alex­ion paid Mod­er­na $100 mil­lion up­front to part­ner on up to 10 pro­grams, which now re­vert back to the Cam­bridge, MA-based biotech. Alex­ion tied up with Blue­print on a 2015 dis­cov­ery deal, an­te­ing up $15 mil­lion and promis­ing up to $250 mil­lion more. Ar­bu­tus $ABUS came in­to the pic­ture much more re­cent­ly, sign­ing on to an $82.5 mil­lion deal in March.

In vogue now are new BD deals to redi­rect R&D in rare dis­eases while stream­lin­ing wher­ev­er it can in an ef­fort to get the com­pa­ny back on track.

Says Hantson:

We will achieve this by grow­ing our rare dis­ease busi­ness, lever­ag­ing our ex­per­tise in com­ple­ment, pur­su­ing dis­ci­plined busi­ness de­vel­op­ment to ex­pand the pipeline, and tak­ing steps to op­ti­mize our in­fra­struc­ture and op­er­at­ing mod­el.

That’s all right in line from what we’ve been hear­ing this week from Em­ma Walm­s­ley at GSK, Lil­ly’s Dave Ricks and Bio­gen’s Michel Vounatsos, who have al­so been clean­ing the R&D house as they prep for new deals.

Hantson, who briefly ran Bax­al­ta be­fore Shire stepped in with a buy­out, has been grum­bling about the pipeline at Alex­ion ever since his ar­rival, leav­ing plen­ty of writ­ing on the wall to point to this re­vamp. The com­pa­ny is huge­ly de­pen­dent on Soliris, its ex­pen­sive rare dis­ease drug , for most of its rev­enue. The CEO – brought in af­ter the com­pa­ny was hit with var­i­ous al­le­ga­tions over the way it was han­dling sales and rev­enue – has on­ly been sat­is­fied with a next-gen drug for the Soliris fran­chise.

Over the last few months Alex­ion has been un­der­go­ing a top-to-bot­tom re­vamp in the ex­ec­u­tive suite. The new man­age­ment team wants a new pipeline, and they will be start­ing over with a large­ly blank draw­ing board. That could be pricey. But an­a­lysts are hap­py to see the moves. Notes Leerink’s Ge­of­frey Porges this morn­ing:

Alex­ion’s new man­age­ment ef­fec­tive­ly cleaned house on their pri­or de­vel­op­ment port­fo­lio, ter­mi­nat­ing two non-com­ple­ment and non-core de­vel­op­ment pro­grams, and re-fo­cus­ing the com­pa­ny’s strat­e­gy….Alex­ion has now ful­ly en­rolled the ALXN1210 phase III treat­ment-naïve PNH study, and ex­pects da­ta in Q2 2018. The com­pa­ny’s Soliris NMO tri­al, which has faced re­cent de­lays, has al­so been con­firmed to fin­ish en­roll­ment in 2017 for da­ta in ear­ly 2018.”


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