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Amgen touts pipeline and eyes overseas growth

World News | February 08, 2013


Kevin Grogan

Amgen touts pipeline and eyes overseas growth

Amgen has been laying out its long-term strategy to analysts and investors in New York, highlighting eight late-stage programmes taking it up to 2016.

The US biotech major is particularly excited about the heart drug AMG 145 and its seven Phase III studies which will enroll more than 26,000 patients. The programme will include looking at the drug as a treatment of hyperlipidaemia and for heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia; results from four of these trials are expected in 2014.

Amgen also made reference to romosozumab for postmenopausal osteoporosis, brodalumab for psoriasis, AMG 416 for secondary hyperparathyroidism, the melanoma drug talimogene laherparepvec and trebananib for ovarian cancer. R&D chief Sean Harper said the firm is "uniquely positioned to shape the future of biotechnology", adding that "our new R&D strategy embraces a 'pick the winners' approach. He went on to say the plan is to "takes advantage of the knowledge we've gained from decades of experience and our industry-leading position in human genetics" resulting from its recent $415 million acquisition of Iceland's deCode.

Amgen also outlined plans to launch a portfolio of six new biosimilars beginning in 2017, saying the area "represents a multi-billion dollar growth". It also expects sales of over $1 billion in sales in new and emerging markets by 2015 and is particularly targeting Japan and China.

Japan and China now key markets

Currently, the company says it is "exploring a partnership opportunity in Japan that will provide a stand-alone, fully-scaled subsidiary by 2020", and expects to launch its first products there by 2016. Amgen adds that it has "a multi-pronged strategy for China that includes establishing an R&D presence and local manufacturing when needed" and hopes to launch drugs in that market by 2015.

Chief financial officer Jonathan Peacock said that Amgen will reallocate  $1 billion in operational efficiencies over the next three years towards strategic initiatives. Chief executive Robert Bradway added that “Amgen is in a unique position to capitalise on major advances in drug discovery and biologics manufacturing".

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