Alexion Pharmaceutical leaders and elected government officials held a ribbon-cutting for the brand new global headquarters at 100 College Street in New Haven Monday morning.
Ten-year-old Cannon Sittig and his family attended the ceremony, which coincided with Rare Diseases Day, a global effort increasing awareness for improved diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases.
"Cannon has been on a fantastic treatment that Alexion makes since he was 5-years-old," his mother Deborah Sittig told NBC Connecticut. "He’s thriving and we’re really blessed."
Deborah’s son has a rare metabolic bone disease called Hypophosphatasia.
"His body doesn’t make enough of the enzymes that helps bones mineralize properly," she said, "So he’s got, in essence, soft bones”
Cannon went through Alexion’s clinical trials for a drug the FDA approved this past October. He requires three weekly injections that are making a world of a difference in his childhood.
"When I was four I couldn’t walk at all," Cannon said, "And now I can play lacrosse, basketball and golf."
Founded in New Haven’s Science Park in 1992 by former CEO Leonard Bell, Alexion’s return to the Elm City after 16 years of being based in Cheshire is a homecoming.
"A lot of failure led to a lot of success and now we come back here to be the catalyst of a growing life sciences industry right here in New Haven," Alexion CEO David Hallal said.
In the new 14-story office and research facility, Alexion hopes to develop more treatments that give hope to families like the Sittigs.
"To find a company that’s committed to rare diseases and transforming the lives, literally changing the lives of children and adults around the world is an amazing feat," Sittig said.
About a thousand Alexion employees will work out of the new building, Hallal said, which is part of downtown New Haven’s urban revitalization.