By Kim Coghill
Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. helped create a new company to sell its desktop silicon-based microarray assay technology.
Located in Boston, Arradial Inc. will begin full operation upon closing its seed round of venture capital financing in the fourth quarter.
Alexion's technology is expected to have applications in genomics and drug discovery and is expected to be capable of performing more than 100,000 nanoliter volume microassays per day with a miniaturized, software-driven robotic system, according to a statement released by the New Haven, Conn.-based company.
Alexion will own 15 percent of Arradial and has exclusive rights to use the technology and software, according to Leonard Bell, Alexion president and CEO. Boston University, where the technology was co-invented and co-developed by Allyn Hubbard and Samesh Kale, is a minority equity shareholder in Arradial. Scientists, the CEO and other founders own the rest of the company.
Alexion will retain all rights to the informatics and instrumentation technologies for the discovery and development of therapeutic antibodies.
Bell said Alexion helped create Arradial because "our business is drug discovery and drug development; commercialization is a different business."
Thomas Vogel, Arradial's CEO, could not be reached for comment, but in a prepared statement he said, "Arradial is excited to be developing this desktop laboratory personal screening system - the 'LabPS' - to meet the growing needs of the drug discovery industry in the post-genomic era. Arradial expects to capitalize on the fundamental discoveries and development of this device that came about through the collaboration between Alexion and Boston University."
Arradial's prototype microarray assay system combines and integrates silicon chip technology with reaction site indexing to carry out ultra-high-throughput drug screening and discovery.
As the commercialization is further developed, Alexion expects to integrate it into its San Diego-based Alexion Antibody Technologies subsidiary to expedite its ability to screen large combinatorial antibody libraries and identify novel recombinant human antibodies, according to Alexion.
Alexion has two lead product candidates in clinical development. In collaboration with Procter & Gamble, 5G1.1-SC is in a Phase IIb cardiopulmonary bypass efficacy trial and in two Phase II myocardial infarction efficacy trials. Also, Alexion's product, 5G1.1, is in a Phase II efficacy trial for the chronic treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, a Phase II efficacy trial for the treatment of membranous nephritis and in Phase Ib pilot studies for treatment of psoriasis, dermatomyositis and pemphigoid.
Alexion's stock (NASDAQ:ALXN) lost $4.56 Wednesday to close at $95.437.