Zealand and Alexion to Develop Novel Peptide Therapy

| By | Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Collaboration

Collaboration further strengthens Zealand Pharma’s position as a leading developer of next generation peptide-based therapeutics. 

Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Zealand Pharma A/S announced a collaboration to discover and develop novel peptide therapies for complement-mediated diseases. Peptides offer a number of advantages, including being highly selective and potent, allowing low dosage volumes for ease of administration, and having the potential to treat a broad range of complement-mediated diseases. The agreement provides Alexion with exclusive worldwide licenses, as well as development and commercial rights, for up to four targets within the complement pathway.

We know that uncontrolled activation of the complement pathway is responsible for many devastating diseases, and through the development of the first two complement inhibitors – SOLIRIS and ULTOMIRIS – we have shown the transformative impact of C5 inhibition on several of these diseases. We are excited by the potential to explore different targets in the complement pathway and look forward to building on Alexion’s more than 20 years of complement expertise with the development of next-generation peptide therapies in collaboration with Zealand Pharma, which may provide the opportunity to treat many additional diseases,

said John Orloff, M.D.,
Executive Vice President
and Head of Research & Development at Alexion.

Collaborating with Alexion is further evidence of the strength of our peptide discovery platform, which has delivered both approved novel peptide-based therapeutics and a deep late-stage pipeline. We believe that peptide-based therapies hold great promise in inhibiting complement activation. Alexion’s demonstrated expertise in treating rare and complement-mediated diseases makes this the ideal collaboration to advance Zealand’s complement-focused peptide programs,

said Adam Steensberg, Interim CEO
and Chief Medical and Development Officer at Zealand.

Under the terms of the agreement, Alexion and Zealand will enter into an exclusive collaboration for the discovery and development of subcutaneously delivered peptide therapies directed to up to four complement pathway targets. Zealand will lead the joint discovery and research efforts through the preclinical stage, and Alexion will lead development efforts beginning with IND filing and Phase 1 studies. The agreement provides Alexion with exclusive worldwide licenses and commercial rights to the peptide therapies developed in the collaboration. Zealand will receive an immediate upfront payment of $25 million for the first target, with Alexion making a concurrent $15 million equity investment in Zealand Pharma at a premium to the market price as of the collaboration effective date. For the lead target, the agreement provides the potential for development-related milestones of up to $115 million, as well as up to $495 million in sales-related milestones and the potential for high single- to low double-digit royalty payments. Each of the three subsequent targets can be selected for an option fee of $15 million and has the potential for additional development milestones and sales milestones and royalty payments at a reduced price to the lead target.

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