Rare Daily Staff

Alexion Pharmaceuticals said it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Syntimmune, a developer of therapeutics for rare autoimmune diseases, for $400 million up front and a potential $800 million in additional milestone payments.

Syntimmune is developing antibody therapeutics that target the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn). It’s lead product candidate is SYNT001, a humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits the interaction of FcRn with Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgG immune complexes. The company believes it has the potential to improve treatment in a number of rare IgG-mediated diseases.

SYNT001 is currently being tested in phase 1b/2a studies in patients with warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia (WAIHA). WAIHA is a rare autoimmune disorder caused by pathogenic IgG antibodies that react with and cause the premature destruction of red blood cells at normal body temperature. The disease is often characterized by profound, and potentially life-threatening anemia and other acute complications, including severe and life-threatening hemolysis, severe weakness, enlarged spleen and/or liver, rapid heart rate, chest pain, heart failure and fainting. There are currently no approved treatments for WAIHA.

SYNT001 is also in clinical development for patients with pemphigus vulgaris or pemphigus foliaceus.

“The acquisition of Syntimmune represents a critical step in rebuilding Alexion’s pipeline and further diversifying the company’s clinical-stage rare disease portfolio,” said Ludwig Hantson, CEO of Alexion. “It offers a strong strategic fit with Alexion’s existing rare disease franchises and provides the opportunity to transform patient care in diseases like warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia, where SYNT001 is the first, and currently the only, anti-FcRn therapy in clinical development.”

Alexion’s acquisition of Syntimmune is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval from relevant regulatory agencies. Pending these approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018. Alexion intends to finance the acquisition through cash on hand.

September 26, 2018
Photo: Ludwig Hantson, CEO of Alexion