Alexion homecoming is a symbol of biomedical growth in New Haven

Hatched in 1992 in a Science Park incubator space by Yale professor Dr. Leonard Bell, Alexion Pharmaceuticals officially opened up its 14-story headquarters in New Haven on Feb. 29.

Bell, University President Peter Salovey, New Haven Mayor Toni Harp ’78 M.E.D., Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-New Haven), U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal ’73 (D-Connecticut), — as well as several young children helped by drugs developed by the company — were among the people on hand at 100 College St. for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the 500,000-square-foot building that many of the speakers said symbolizes the maturation of the Elm City’s burgeoning bioscience sector.

“In some ways, we have a come a short distance to get here, but we’ve come a very long ways as a company,’’ Bell said.

Alexion moved from Science Park to Cheshire, Connecticut and has returned now to its roots in New Haven. The headquarters, created with $100 million in private investment and $40 million in federal, state and local financing, boasts a roof top garden and takes 50% of its energy from renewable sources, the company says. About 1,000 of the company’s 3,000 employees worldwide will be based in New Haven.

The headquarters on the Route 34 connector helps relink neighborhoods separated by redevelopment in the 1950s, officials said.

“This reminds us of what a wonderful place New Haven is to live work and study,” Salovey said.

Alexion focuses on developing and delivering life-transforming therapies for patients with devastating and rare diseases. It became a public company in 1996 (NASDAQ: ALXN). The company was added to the NASDAQ-100 Index in 2011 and to the Standard & Poor's 500 Index in 2012.

The move to New Haven also allows Alexion easy access to Yale biomedical research resources.  Yale receives about 230 invention disclosures and files over 300 patent applications annually. Yale inventions have led to the creation of nearly 60 companies in the New Haven region that have attracted more than $1 billion of professional venture capital investment and have created about 900 jobs. There are currently five Yale drugs on the market and another 37 in pre-clinical or human testing. There are an additional five devices or diagnostic tests in the market, and another 15 in development or testing.