Should Alexion worry about Apellis' Soliris rival? Probably not, analysts say

Alexion's Soliris will likely face European biosimilars of its blockbuster Soliris as soon as 2022. (Alexion)

With two years to go before biosimilars of its blockbuster Soliris are expected to hit the European market, Alexion is working hard to backstop sales with successor drug Ultomiris. One little complication: A competitor in the wings is touting new Soliris-topping data in an ultra-rare disease, and it could endanger Alexion's plan.

Apellis Pharmaceuticals' Apl-2, a late-stage candidate for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), topped Soliris in improving patients' hemoglobin levels at 16 weeks, according to phase 3 head-to-head data released Tuesday.

With that data in hand, Apellis took a direct shot at Soliris in its release. 

"The majority of patients with PNH currently receiving treatment with (Soliris) have continuing anemia,” said Peter Hillmen, an investigator in the head-to-head study. “The ... results show that (Apl-2) has the potential to become a new standard of care for patients with PNH.”

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