Alexion snaps up Taligen for $111M-plus, creates translational unit

The promising protein drug developer Taligen Therapeutics is being snapped up by Alexion Pharmaceuticals for $111 million upfront and an undisclosed package of milestones for six of its drug programs. The buyout marks an abrupt change of plans for the upstart biotech. Just last August Taligen had drawn down a $10 million tranche of its $65 million Series B as it positioned itself to launch early-stage clinical research on its lead ophthalmology program.

Taligen CEO Abbie Celniker will now transition from head of a biotech company to leader of Alexion's new translational medicine effort. Alexion clearly was drawn to the developer's drug development platform, which identified new drugs for immune and inflammatory conditions. Its protein therapeutics target the complement pathway in the immune system.

As Celniker explained to FierceBiotech last August, the company's development strategy was to provide proof of concept data on small trials focused on rare diseases and then strike partnerships with bigger companies for big-market indications like age-related macular degeneration. Alexion, though, may want to accelerate those big-market efforts.

"Alexion has proven how highly innovative science can result in life-transforming therapies for patients with debilitating disorders," said Dr. Celniker. "We are excited to be combining our research and development capabilities with Alexion's global team with the goal of accelerating the investigation of novel molecules from our combined portfolios and developing additional first-in-class compounds."

- read the Alexion release