The complement system is an essential component of innate immunity that has been more recently recognized as an unexpected player in various pathological states. These include age-related macular degeneration, atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome, allergy, foetal loss, and axonal and myelin degradation after trauma. Its importance has also been recognized in physiological processes including haematopoietic stem cell homing to the bone marrow, liver regeneration and modulation of adaptive immune responses. Although the complement system has long been known to be involved in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, few agents that target the complement system are currently approved for clinical use. However, renewed interest in modulating this system in various pathological conditions has emerged, and several agents are now in development.