Alexion enlists BioXcel for data dive in search of next Soliris

Alexion Pharmaceuticals ($ALXN) has turned to Big Data specialist BioXcel for help identifying its next blockbuster rare disease drug. BioXcel is applying its rare disease database to the collaboration, which aims to figure out which indications are most likely to benefit from various therapeutics.

The database covers 9,000 rare diseases plus up to 5,000 associated genes, 1,500 disease pathways and potential targets for a range of treatment classes, such as antibodies, proteins, small molecules and gene therapies. A 50-person team working out of Gurgaon, India, will use the resource and linked target product profile design tool to map out in which indications a drug might prove effective and predict how it may fare commercially.

Branford, CT-based BioXcel was founded back in 2005, but its push into rare diseases is a recent development. The Big Data analytics player took the wraps off its new offering in June, at which time the database included details on 6,800 rare diseases. Since then BioXcel has continued to expand the platform and now has the validation of a partnership with a big-name rare disease player that has a blockbuster drug in its portfolio.

Alexion is best known as the company behind Soliris, the ultrarare disease treatment that until recently held the title of the world's most expensive drug. Winning approval for Soliris--which commands a price of around $500,000 a year--in new indications is part of Alexion's strategy.

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