NEW HAVEN, Conn., Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Connecticut's premier life science award, the CURE Award for Excellence, was presented to Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Cheshire at the CURE annual meeting Dec 4 in New Haven. Also presented at the meeting, to David I. Scheer of Scheer and Company of Branford, was the first-ever CURE Atlas Award for Venture Capital Achievement. In his presentation remarks, Paul R. Pescatello, president and CEO of CURE, cited Alexion as the first Connecticut biotechnology company to have a product approved for marketing. Earlier this year Alexion launched Soliris(R), a pharmaceutical for the treatment of PNH (paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria), a rare blood disorder. Dr. Leonard Bell is CEO and David Keiser is president and COO of Alexion. The Atlas Award was established this year to recognize venture capitalists who have made an outstanding contribution to the success of Connecticut bioscience. Pescatello said that David Scheer and his company have founded eight biotech companies since 1981, including Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Sopherion Therapeutics, Inc. of New Haven. Most recently Scheer helped launch Optherion, Inc. of New Haven, an early- stage biotechnology company that is developing diagnostic and disease- modifying products for the management and treatment of dry and wet age-related macular degeneration. In other business, Pescatello noted that David Keiser of Alexion has agreed to serve as co-chair of CURE, together with Peter Farina of Boehringer Ingelheim, in the coming year. In January Farina will be assuming the duties of CEO of Developing World Cures, a newly organized subsidiary of CURE that will focus on the development of medicines for the often neglected diseases of the developing world. Kevin Rakin of Advanced BioHealing, who has been co- chair this past year, remains a director of CURE. According to Pescatello, CURE's priorities for next year included further development of its award-winning BioBus programs, which bring laboratory science experience to Connecticut schoolchildren. The programs are poised to move from the pilot stage to full integration into Connecticut math and science education, Pescatello said.