Amgen has linked up with Teijin Pharma to develop treatments for autoimmune diseases.

The agreement centres around small molecule drugs discovered by the Japanese drugmaker that target ROR_. "a key driver of differentiation and regulation of Th17 cells, which play a pivotal role in inflammation and are broadly implicated in autoimmune diseases". Teijin Pharma  will receive an undisclosed upfront payment in addition to potential milestones and royalties and the deal, which excludes Japan, gives the Tokyo-based firm rights to co-promote potential products in select Asian markets.

Hiroshi Uno, president of Teijin Pharma said the collaboration with Amgen, "which possesses the highest level of expertise and global development capabilities in the field of autoimmune diseases, is expected to timely provide us with a potential breakthrough in the discovery of new therapeutic compounds in this field and then maximise their value".

Healthy sales growth for Amgen

The deal was announced just after Amgen unveiled its second-quarter financials which showed that revenues increased 5% to $4.68 billion, while adjusted net income inched up 1% to $1.44 billion.

Sales of the anaemia drug Aranesp (darbepoetin alfa) were down 2% to $524 million and its older erythropoiesis stimulating agent, Epogen (epoetin alfa) slipped 4% to $502 million. Combined turnover of Amgen’s white blood cell stimulators Neulasta (pegfilgrastim) and Neupogen (filgrastim) were up 7% to $1.44 billion.

The anti-inflammatory Enbrel (etanercept), partnered with Pfizer and sold by Amgen in North America, increased 9% to $1.16 billion, while Sensipar/Mimpara (cinacalcet), for the treatment of secondary hyperparathyroidism in dialysis patients, rose 12% to $259 million. The colorectal cancer drug Vectibix (panitumumab) increased 3% to $93 million, while Nplate (romiplostim), for the treatment of chronic immune thrombocytopenic purpura, increased 22% to $105 million.

Sales of Prolia (denosumab) for the treatment of postmenopausal women at increased risk of osteoporotic fractures, reached $188 million, up 57%, while Xgeva (also denosumab) for the treatment of bone metastases to reduce skeletal related events in patients with cancer, climbed 39% to $249 million.