Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ALXN) and Moderna Therapeutics today announced an exclusive strategic agreement for the discovery and development of messenger RNA Therapeutics™ to treat rare diseases. Alexion is a global leader in the development and commercialization of breakthrough therapies for patients with severe and life-threatening rare diseases. Moderna is a pioneer in developing messenger RNA (mRNA) Therapeutics™, a highly innovative treatment modality to enable the in vivo production of therapeutic proteins.
Messenger RNA Therapeutics™ are designed to directly utilize the body’s natural processes to enable the in vivo production of both intracellular proteins, which remain within the cells, and secreted proteins, which are released into the bloodstream and act to restore function elsewhere in the body. As a result, the mRNA Therapeutics™ platform has the potential to speed the development and manufacture of treatments for many rare diseases that are currently untreatable with existing technologies.
Under the agreement, Alexion will make an upfront payment to Moderna of $100 million to purchase 10 product options to develop and commercialize treatments for rare diseases with Moderna’s mRNA Therapeutics™ platform. Alexion will lead the discovery, development and commercialization of the treatments produced through this broad, long-term strategic agreement, while Moderna will retain responsibility for the design and manufacture of the messenger RNA against selected targets. Following option exercise by Alexion, Moderna will be entitled to drug development and commercial milestone payments, as well as high single to double digit royalties on commercial sales. In addition, Alexion has made a $25 million preferred equity investment into Moderna today.
“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 Leonard Bell, M.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. “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.”