Alexion invests $25M in Moderna for rare-disease treatment

Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. has made a $25 million preferred equity investment in Moderna Therapeutics and will also provide $100 million up front as part of a long-term agreement to develop treatments for rare diseases with Moderna’s messenger RNA Therapeutics platform, the two companies announced Monday. More

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biotechnology

Alexion invests $25M in Moderna for rare-disease treatment

COURTESY ALEXION
ALEXION PHARMACEUTICALS will pay Moderna Therapeutics $100 million up front and invest $25 million in the company in exchange for the exclusive right to license 10 investigational drugs for rare diseases using Moderna's mRNA Therapeutics platform, the two companies announced Monday.
Posted 1/14/14

CHESHIRE, Conn. – Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. has made a $25 million preferred equity investment in Moderna Therapeutics and will also provide $100 million up front as part of a long-term agreement to develop treatments for rare diseases with Moderna’s messenger RNA Therapeutics platform, the two companies announced Monday.

Alexion focuses on developing and distributing therapies for patients with severe and life-threatening rare diseases, and produces the Soliris drug treatment for the blood disorder known as paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria at its facility in Smithfield.

Moderna’s mRNA Therapeutics use the body’s natural processes to produce intracellular and secreted proteins, which are then released into the bloodstream to restore function elsewhere in the body. This platform could speed the development and manufacture of treatments for rare diseases currently untreatable with existing technologies, Alexion said.

“This broad and long-term strategic agreement represents a significant expansion of Alexion’s capabilities for drug discovery, and provides us with the strong potential to further our mission of developing novel and breakthrough therapies for patients with severe and life-threatening rare diseases,” said Dr. Leonard Bell, CEO of Alexion.

“We consider Moderna’s mRNA Therapeutics to be an especially exciting drug discovery platform, and we look forward to combining Moderna’s deep expertise in mRNA with Alexion’s significant global resources and expertise in drug discovery, clinical studies, regulatory affairs and commercialization for the benefit of patients worldwide.”

Under the agreement, Alexion will lead the discovery, development and commercialization of treatments and holds the exclusive option to license 10 investigational drugs for rare diseases using the mRNA Therapeutics platform.

Moderna, based in Cambridge, Mass., will design and manufacture the mRNA against specific diseases, and will be entitled to drug-development and commercial-milestone payments, as well as high single- to double-digit royalties, Alexion said.

“Moderna’s strategy is to aggressively seek to commercialize its mRNA platform for patients in need,” said Stéphane Bancel, president and founding CEO of Moderna. “As we were looking for a global leader with a proven track record in the discovery, development and global commercialization of treatments for patients with rare diseases, entering into a strategic agreement with Alexion became an obvious choice for us. We were very impressed with the Alexion team’s passion to treat patients with severe and life-threatening diseases, its biology expertise, as well as its clinical and commercial capabilities.”

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