AstraZeneca is to co-promote Amgen's denosumab in Japan with Daiichi Sankyo for bone cancer disorders.

Daiichi Sankyo acquired the Japanese rights to the compound from Amgen in 2007 and filed a Japanese New Drug Application for it in August last year. Financial details have not been disclosed.

Tony Zook, head of AstraZeneca’s global commercial organisation said that "collaborations like this are a key part of our strategy" as it "leverages our long-standing commitment to oncology in Japan". The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker noted that its revenues grew 4% in Japan in 2010 to $2.62 billion and it has "steadily built a significant presence" in the country, with 3,100 employees and an R&D centre in Osaka.

Amgen itself has another key partnership in place for denosumab, aside from the Daiichi Sankyo link-up. GlaxoSmithKline sells the drug for postmenopausal osteoporosis, as Prolia, in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico and has the rights to all oncology indications in the emerging markets.

Last week, the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended approval of the RANK ligand inhibitor for the prevention of skeletal-related events in adults with bone metastases from solid tumours. Amgen uses Xgeva as the brand name for denosumab in cancer.