Rare Daily Staff

Alexion Pharmaceuticals said it will acquire Stockholm-based rare disease drug developer Wilson Therapeutics through an all-cash tender offer worth $855 million.

The Swedish biopharmaceutical company develops novel therapies for patients with rare copper-mediated disorders. It’s lead product is in late-stage development as a treatment for Wilson disease, a rare genetic condition the liver and central nervous system.

Wilson disease is a rare, chronic, genetic and potentially life-threatening liver disorder of impaired copper transport. In patients with Wilson disease, a genetic mutation disables this biliary excretion pathway and excess copper accumulates over time in the liver cells. The accumulation of copper eventually overwhelms safe storage capacity and cellular injury occurs. When the liver’s capacity for copper storage is exceeded, and when liver cells are injured, copper is released into the circulation and may accumulate in other organs, including the central nervous system.

WTX101 is a first-in-class oral copper-binding agent with a unique mechanism of action and ability to access and bind copper from serum and promote its removal from the liver. The experimental therapeutic has received Fast Track designation in the United States and Orphan Drug designation for the treatment of Wilson disease in both the United States and European Union.

“WTX101 is an innovative product that addresses the underlying cause of the disease and has the potential to define a new standard of care in treating Wilson disease, an area that has not had a new treatment in over two decades,” said Ludwig Hantson, CEO of Alexion. “The acquisition of Wilson Therapeutics is a strong strategic fit for Alexion given the overlap with our current clinical and commercial focus on metabolic and neurologic disorders, and is an important first step in rebuilding our clinical pipeline.”

The Independent Committee of the Board of Directors of Wilson Therapeutics has unanimously recommended Wilson Therapeutics shareholders accept the offer and Alexion’s Board of Directors also unanimously approved the offer.

April 11, 2018
Photo: Ludwig Hantson, CEO of Alexion

 

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