Alexion acquires Portola for $1.41 billion dollars
… Alexion Expands Its Rare Disease Pharmaceutical Enterprise …


Andexxa (coagulation factor Xa (recombinant), inactivated-zhzo) coveted as the only approved FaxtorXa inhibitor reversal agent

John G. Baresky

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALXN) has announced it is acquiring Portola Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: PTLA) for $1.41 billion in cash. Founded in 2003, Portola is based in South San Francisco and produces about $116 million in annual sales.

Portola presently has two primary products. Bevyxxa (betrixaban) is an oral anticoagulant indicated for the prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in adult patients hospitalized for an acute medical illness who are at risk for thromboembolic complications due to moderate or severe restricted mobility and other risk factors for VTE.

Andexxa (coagulation factor Xa (recombinant), inactivated-zhzo) is a recombinant modified human factor Xa (FXa) protein indicated for patients treated with rivaroxaban or apixaban when reversal of anticoagulation is needed due to life-threatening or uncontrolled bleeding. It is administered through IV infusion.

Portola’s pipeline candidates include:

  • Andexanet Alfa is positioned for indications aligned with the reversal of Factor Xa inhibitors and urgent surgery
  • Cerdulatinib is a dual-spleen tyrosine kinase and Janus kinase (SYK/JAK) inhibitor with the potential to gain indications for peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL), cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) and follicular lymphoma

Headquartered in Boston, Alexion generates about $5.5 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1992, they specialize in developing and commercializing high specialized biotherapeutics and other medicines for the treatment of rare diseases. Other noteworthy rare disease companies Alexion could be compared to are:

In April 2020, Alexion launched a phase 3 study to investigate the safety and efficacy of Ultomiris (ravulizumab‑cwvz), a monoclonal antibody C5 inhibitor as a treatment for COVID-19. The product is presently FDA approved for the treatment of paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, a rare blood disease that triggers red blood cells to break apart and release hemoglobin (the carrier in red blood cells that transports oxygen to cells).

The unique and highly advanced products within Portola’s portfolio and pipeline are an ideal fit for Alexion’s focus on rare diseases.

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