Amgen is buying Turkey's Mustafa Nevzat Pharmaceuticals in a deal valued at $700 million, as part of its plans to expand internationally.

Under the terms of the all-cash agreement, Amgen will acquire 95.6 % of the shares in privately-held MN. The latter sells specialty generics to hospitals and supplies injectable medicines in Turkey, plus it also has "a successful and fast-growing export business".

MN had revenues of approximately $200 million in 2011 and has grown on average at double-digit rates over the past five years. It was founded almost 90 years ago and employs some 1,200 people.

Explaining the rationale behind the deal, Robert Bradway, Amgen's president and chief executive-elect, said that "we plan to grow our business with high quality and innovative medicines in Turkey and the surrounding region". The biotech major established an affiliate in the country in 2010 and currently markets two products there.

The deal was announced after Mr Bradway, speaking on a conference call for Amgen's first-quarter results, said that international expansion is important and the firm wants to be in 75 countries by 2015, some 20 more than today. Last April, Amgen acquired Brazil's Bergamo for $215 million and Russia, India, China, South Korea and Mexico are also set to be key markets. Mr Bradway added that the company will be looking to develop its business in Japan.

Healthy revenue growth

As for the financials, Amgen's first-quarter revenues increased 9% to $4.05 billion, while adjusted net income rose 2% to $1,29 billion.

Sales of the anaemia drug Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) were down 15% to $518 million and its older erythropoiesis stimulating agent, Epogen (epoetin alfa) fell 17% to $446 million. However, combined turnover of Amgen’s white blood cell stimulators Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) and Neupogen (filgrastim) increased 9% to $1.34 billion, while sales of the anti-inflammatory Enbrel (etanercept), partnered with Pfizer and sold by Amgen in North America, rose 7% at $938 million.

Sensipar/Mimpara (cinacalcet), for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in dialysis patients, rose 17% to $219 million, while sales of the colorectal cancer drug Vectibix (panitumumab) increased 20% to $90 million. Nplate (romiplostim), for the treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura, increased 38% to $90 million.

Sales of Prolia (denosumab) for the treatment of postmenopausal women at increased risk of osteoporotic fractures, reached $88 million, up 9%, while Xgeva (also denosumab) for the treatment of bone metastases to reduce skeletal related events in patients with cancer, climbed 14% to $153 million.