Alexion Targets COVID-19 With Blood Disorder Drug

Investors snap up shares of Alexion after the biopharmaceutical company announces plans to test a blood-disorder drug on Covid-19 patients.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals  (ALXN) - Get Report has become the latest drug developer to enter the hunt for a breakthrough coronavirus treatment.

Shares of Alexion jumped after the company announced plans to conduct a clinical trial for the use of a drug for rare blood disorders on gravely ill patients hospitalized with COVID-19.

Alexion's stock price shot up 4.43% to $108.08 a share after the biopharmaceutical company announced plans for a Phase 3 trial of Ultomiris on adults who, as a result of COVID-19, are battling pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS.

Alexion will kick off the clinical trial in May, with plans to study 270 patients in locations around the world that have been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus.

The Boston-based company said the decision to push ahead with a clinical trial of Ultomiris on coronavirus patients comes after "published preclinical data" suggests that the use of C5 inhibition "can lower cytokine and chemokine and can significantly reduce lung inflammation and pathology in animal models of viral pneumonia."

Alexion said it had also seen preliminary signs of encouraging results from COVID-19 patients given the company's related Soliris drug, "which suggests complement inhibition may improve coronaviral-mediated lung injury."

The company said anecdotal results from the 100 COVID-19 patients with severe pneumonia treated so far with its drugs have been encouraging.

Alexion, in turn, said it has applied and received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct the test of Ultomiris on COVID-19 patients under the agency's "investigational new drug application."

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