Amgen is expanding its activities in China and establishing a joint venture with Zhejiang Beta Pharma Co to sell its colon cancer drug Vectibix.

According to the agreement, the JV will be named Amgen-Beta Pharmaceuticals Co and ownership is to be split 51%/49% in favour of the Chinese partner. No financial details have been disclosed and the venture requires the approval of relevant government authorities in China.

Zhejiang Beta was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Hang-Zhou and has R&D operations in Beijing. In 2011, it launched icotinib for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer in China.

Anthony Hooper, executive vice president at Amgen, said the JV "supports our strategy of expanding in key, fast-growing markets," James Li, the company's general manager in China, claimed that its 30-year track record of developing innovative medicines, including Vectibix (panitumumab), "means we are well-positioned to support the development of China’s biotech sector". We see this as a clear step that enables Amgen to help China achieve its goals for the biotech industry.”

Yinxiang Wang, Zhejiang Beta's chief executive, added that "this is certainly a groundbreaking event for the biotech industry in China".