Amgen is celebrating after winning overall best pipeline and best new drug at the 5th Scrip Awards.

Receiving the double-whammy on behalf of the biotechnology company, Jeremy Haigh, vice president, chief operating officer, international R&D at Amgen said: ”For an R&D organisation to be recognised in this way by its peer group is possibly the highest accolade it can receive and a signal of its long-term strength. This is an enormous tribute to all the staff around the world who have committed themselves over many years to the development of our innovative pipeline.”

The criteria used to decide the winner of best overall pipeline included not only the size of the pipeline and the mix across development stages but also the quality, novelty and market potential of its components. Amgen’s pipeline has 50 molecules in development and though it is not the largest, the judges said it is notable for its focus on unmet clinical need and market potential. Mr Haigh said: "Many of our target pathways have never been previously addressed in humans."

Denosumab, an in-house discovery, is one of the most promising candidates in its pipeline. This first-in-class monoclonal antibody targets RANK ligand, which is involved in bone-degenerating osteoclasts. Still to be approved, the drug could prove valuable in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, cancer-treatment induced bone loss in breast and prostate cancer and other bone diseases.

The company’s Nplate (romiplostim) won best new drug because of its novel mode of action and as it addresses an unmet medical need. It is a first-in-class thrombopoietin mimetic agent for the treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) in patients who have had an insufficient response to corticosteroids, immunoglobulins or splenectomy.

It is the first molecule based on Amgen’s peptide protein technology platform and general manager John Kearney said “I am particularly delighted that we have won best new drug especially as the initial response from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has not been positive. This accolade acknowledges Amgen’s huge commitment to work in difficult areas of unmet medical need.” By Rhonda Siddall