Booming Alexion blueprints new HQ, plans for 300 new hires

Scooping up some juicy incentives from Connecticut officials, fast-growing Alexion Pharmaceuticals ($ALXN) has hatched a plan to move into a new 400,000-square-foot headquarters in downtown New Haven that will become the new home for hundreds of employees scattered in Cheshire along with up to 300 new staffers that the biotech company plans to hire over the next 5 years. Alexion will be the anchor tenant in the $100 million office complex, which will house administration as well as R&D.

Governor Dannel Malloy took the opportunity to tout the state's ambitions on the biotech front, which suffered badly after Pfizer ($PFE) downsized its operations in Groton. With the industry gathered in Boston for the big BIO 2012 confab, Malloy claimed a major coup in its campaign to make the state a central hub in the drug development world. It followed a big subsidy for Jackson Laboratory, which is building a new research institute in the state.

Alexion has been growing through acquisitions over the past two years, buying Enobia for up to $1.08 billion in January and Taligen in early 2011. The prize program in the Enobia buyout was ENB-0040 (asfotase alfa) for hypophosphatasia, a rare metabolic condition characterized by skeletal deformation and organ damage. The enzyme replacement therapy wrapped a mid-stage study with positive data, giving Cheshire, CT-based Alexion a new late-stage rare disease development program following the approval of Soliris (eculizumab).

"We were recruited by various locations," Alexion CEO Leonard Bell said, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. "I think it was the combination of the tremendous growth and vibrancy of New Haven together with the financial commitment and wherewithal from the state" that kept the company in Connecticut. Under the state's First Five program, companies can win tax incentives up to $50 million and subsidies if they promise to create more than 200 jobs in five years.

- read the press release
- here's the story from The Wall Street Journal