Tags: Amgen | AstraZeneca | drug | biotech | pharma

Amgen, AstraZeneca to Collaborate on Biotech Drugs

Monday, 02 Apr 2012 05:22 PM

Amgen Inc. and British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC announced on Monday a major collaboration deal to jointly develop and sell five biotech drugs currently in Amgen's developmental pipeline.

Under terms of the deal, Astra will make an up-front payment of $50 million to the world's largest biotechnology company and the companies will share costs and profits on the drugs for a variety of autoimmune, inflammatory and respiratory diseases.

The collaboration will provide Amgen with additional resources to help advance its product portfolio and give Astra access to new medicines at a time when its own pipeline is relatively barren and it is facing competition from cheap generic versions of its big-selling antipsychotic drug Seroquel.

The deal comes as Amgen's longtime chief executive, Kevin Sharer, is preparing to step down next month.

"We believe this collaboration has the potential to bring more therapies to patients sooner, across more geographic areas," Sharer said in a statement.

Recent AstraZeneca setbacks with experimental medicines for depression, ovarian cancer and diabetes have hurt investor confidence in the company's ability to rejuvenate its pipeline internally. In an interview last month, research chief Martin Mackay told Reuters that Astra was actively seeking deals, "including potential peer-to-peer and biotech deals."

The most advanced of the five drugs to be shared is brodalumab, which is about to begin Phase III clinical trials for psoriasis, and is also being tested for psoriatic arthritis and asthma.

The others, all at a much earlier stage of development, are AMG 139 for Crohn's disease; AMG 181 for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's; AMG 557 for lupus; and AMG 157 for asthma.

Under current plans, about 65 percent of the costs through 2014 will be funded by AstraZeneca, after which the companies will split costs equally. Amgen will book sales globally and retain a low single-digit royalty for brodalumab and a mid single-digit royalty for the rest of the portfolio. After 2014, the companies will share profits equally.

Astra will take the lead for development and commercial strategy of AMG 139, AMG 157 and AMG 181, while Amgen will lead the development and commercial strategy for brodalumab and AMG 557, the companies said.

"We are impressed with AstraZeneca's extensive experience in developing and launching products in the respiratory and gastroenterology areas," Sharer said.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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Monday, 02 Apr 2012 05:22 PM
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