Cedric Francois, Apellis CEO (Apellis)

Lit­tle Apel­lis is arm­ing it­self for a David and Go­liath bat­tle over a block­buster drug fran­chise

Is a lit­tle biotech like Apel­lis $APLS ready for a David vs. Go­liath com­mer­cial bat­tle with a well-es­tab­lished phar­ma play­er and their fe­ro­cious Big Phar­ma buy­er wait­ing in the wings?

That’s the $39 bil­lion ques­tion for As­traZeneca, which will still be clos­ing on its big Alex­ion buy­out as the biotech counts down to a loom­ing May 14 PDU­FA date on its prospec­tive ri­val as the FDA wraps a pri­or­i­ty re­view of pegc­eta­coplan, a C3 drug that’s been aim­ing at top­pling the long reign­ing C5 com­ple­ment in­hibitor champ Soliris and its suc­ces­sor Ul­tomiris for rare cas­es of PNH — parox­ys­mal noc­tur­nal he­mo­glo­bin­uria.

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