CRESTWOOD, Ky. and WALTHAM, Mass., Dec. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Apellis Pharmaceuticals Inc., (Nasdaq:APLS) a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds to treat diseases through inhibition of the complement system, today announced that its C3 complement inhibitor, APL-2, has been granted orphan drug designation by the FDA for the treatment of C3 glomerulopathy (C3G).

C3 glomerulopathy refers to a group of rare renal disorders in which hyperactivity of the complement system leads to deposition of C3 in the glomeruli, the portion of the kidney responsible for blood filtration. C3G is a disease with a high unmet need, as approximately half of all patients with C3G progress to end-stage renal disease within 10 years of diagnosis, and there is no approved therapy proven to prevent progression.

By targeting C3, the point of convergence of all three complement pathways (classical, lectin and alternative), Apellis believes APL-2 has the potential to eliminate the excessive and inappropriate C3 activation that is central to C3G, thereby avoiding glomerular C3 deposition and progression of renal disease. Apellis is currently conducting a Phase 2 trial of APL-2 in four types of glomerular diseases in which complement has been implicated: C3 glomerulopathy, IgA nephropathy, primary membranous nephropathy and lupus nephritis.

“This orphan drug designation represents an important recognition by the FDA of APL-2’s potential to treat C3G, a rare disease that can lead to renal failure, and for which there are no approved treatments currently for patients,” said Cedric Francois, CEO and co-founder of Apellis. “This is an important milestone as we build out our pipeline using the systemic administration of APL-2 in rare, complement-mediated diseases, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of our Phase 2 study.”

The FDA Orphan Drug program provides orphan designation to novel drugs that are intended for the treatment of rare diseases (those affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the United States). The designation provides sponsors with development and commercial incentives including seven years of market exclusivity in the US, consultation by FDA on clinical study design, potential for expedited drug development, and certain fee exemptions and reductions.

About APL-2 
APL-2 is designed to inhibit the complement cascade centrally at C3 and may have the potential to treat a wide range of complement-mediated diseases more effectively than is possible with partial inhibitors of complement. APL-2 is a synthetic cyclic peptide conjugated to a polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymer that binds specifically to C3 and C3b, effectively blocking all three pathways of complement activation (classical, lectin, and alternative). To date, APL-2 has generally been well-tolerated. No significant infections have been observed in trials involving the systemic administration of APL-2, including the trials in PNH, AIHA or other trials. 

About Apellis
Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of a broad range of life-threatening or debilitating autoimmune diseases based upon complement immunotherapy through the inhibition of the complement system at the level of C3. Apellis is the first company to advance chronic therapy with a C3 inhibitor into clinical trials. For additional information about Apellis and APL-2, please visit http://www.apellis.com. For additional information regarding our clinical trials, visit www.apellis.com/clinical-trials.html.

Forward-Looking Statements  
Statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects, as well as any other statements regarding matters that are not historical facts, may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the implications of preliminary clinical data. The words “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: whether preliminary or interim results from a clinical trial will be predictive of the final results of the trial; whether results obtained in preclinical studies and clinical trials will be indicative of results that will be generated in future clinical trials; whether APL-2 will successfully advance through the clinical trial process on a timely basis, or at all; whether the results of such clinical trials will warrant regulatory submissions and whether APL-2 will receive approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration or equivalent foreign regulatory agencies for GA, PNH, C3G or any other indication; whether, if Apellis’ products receive approval, they will be successfully distributed and marketed; and other factors discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of Apellis’ Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on November 13, 2018 and the risks described in other filings that Apellis may make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements contained in this press release speak only as of the date hereof, and Apellis specifically disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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