February 5, 2019
Bioscience Notebook

Alexion profits, sales up in 4Q

PHOTO | Contributed
PHOTO | Contributed
Alexion Tower at 100 College St.

Boston-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc., which has a major research presence in New Haven, posted higher fourth-quarter earnings compared to a year ago, an increase it said was driven by strong sales of its blockbuster Soliris and two other rare-disease drugs.

For the period ended Dec. 31, 2018, Alexion reported adjusted net income of $486.4 million, or $2.14 a share, up from $337.6 million, or $1.48 per share, during the same period in 2017, the company said Monday.

For the year, the rare-disease drugmaker reported adjusted net income of $1.79 billion, or $7.92 per share, up from $1.34 billion, or $5.86 per share in 2017.

The company said fourth-quarter revenues increased 24 percent year-over-year to $1.13 billion, a jump it attributed to increased sales for Soliris, Strensiq and Kanuma.

The New Haven-born company moved its corporate headquarters to Boston last summer, but continues to house 450 employees at its 100 College St. research facility.

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The CEO of Shelton-based antiviral drug developer NanoViricides Inc. has stepped down after less than five months in the position, the company announced Monday.

Irach Taraporewala, MD, who succeeded retiring CEO Eugene Seymour, MD, on Sept. 1, resigned effective Jan. 31, citing personal reasons. He will remain a consultant through Jan. 2021 to help guide the company's anti-shingles drug through the regulatory approval process, NanoViricides said.

President and board Chairman Anil Diwan, the company founder, has been elevated to executive chairman and will take on additional executive responsibilities, the company said.

NanoViricide's lead drug candidate is an anti-varicella-zoster virus topical cream for the treatment of shingles. The drug uses tiny particles called nanoviricides to attack and dismantle the virus.

The company expects to file an application for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to begin human trials on the drug sometime this year.

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Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co. Ltd., which is close to filing for FDA approval for its migraine drug rimegepant, said Monday it will advance a second migraine treatment into Phase 2 clinical trials by June.

The decision comes after the drug, BHV-3500, met its targets in a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy patients, the New Haven company said.

Like rimegepant, BHV-3500 is part of a new class of migraine treatments known as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonists. But while rimegepant is taken orally, BHV-3500 is administered via a nasal spray. The drug has the potential to provide fast-acting relief without the need for injection, Biohaven said.

"We are now a step closer to our goal of providing migraine sufferers with a range of noninvasive, CGRP receptor antagonist dosing options for both the acute and preventative treatment of migraine," CEO Vlad Coric, MD, said in a statement.

Contact Natalie Missakian at news@NewHavenBiz.com.

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