Apellis Pharmaceuticals, a Crestwood, Ky.-based, clinical stage immunotherapy company, will acquire Potentia Pharmaceuticals, an early stage biotechnology company also located in Crestwood. Apellis obtained the necessary intellectual property rights to develop its complement inhibitor drug compound (APL-2) in ophthalmology and plans its first clinical trial in dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD).
Complement inhibition is the only mechanism thus far to show reductions in the growth of dry AMD. Potentia was the first company to develop a complement inhibitor for the treatment of AMD. APL-2 has the same mechanism of action as Potentia's original drug compound but has a significantly improved half-life in the eye. APL-2 is in late preclinical development in ophthalmology and is expected to enter phase II clinical testing in patients with AMD by the middle of 2015.