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Amgen adds to oncology pipeline with $1.9bn Five Prime Therapeutics acquisition

Five Prime's pipeline includes potentially first-in-class anti-FGFR2b antibody bemarituzumab

Amgen has announced an agreement to acquire Five Prime Therapeutics for approximately $1.9bn, gaining a phase 2 gastric cancer antibody as part of the deal.

Following the acquisition, Amgen will gain Five Prime’s pipeline of immuno-oncology assets – including the potentially first-in-class anti-FGFR2b antibody bemarituzumab.

Bemarituzumab has already demonstrated positive results in a phase 2 trial in first-line advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer.

It targets the protein known as FGFR2b, which has been found to be over-expressed in approximately 30% of patients with non-HER2-positive gastric cancers.

In the phase 2 FIGHT trial, bemarituzumab demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements in progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and overall response rate (ORR) in this setting.

Further analysis showed a positive correlation between efficacy and expression of FGFR2b on tumour cells, which ‘confirms both the importance’ of the target and bemarituzumab’s activity against FGFR2b.

"The acquisition of Five Prime offers a compelling opportunity for Amgen to strengthen our oncology portfolio with a promising late-stage, first-in-class global asset to treat gastric cancer," said Robert Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer at Amgen.

"We look forward to welcoming the Five Prime team to Amgen and working with them to leverage our best-in-class monoclonal antibody manufacturing capabilities to supply additional clinical materials, as well as expanded production quantities, to realise the full potential of bemarituzumab for even more patients around the world as quickly as possible,” he added.

Under the terms of the agreement, Five Prime will offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Five Prime’s common stock for $38 per share, representing an equity value of approximately $1.9bn.

Amgen expects the transaction to close by the end of the second quarter of 2021, reaffirming its full-year outlook for revenue of $25.8bn to $26.6bn.

On top of adding to its pipeline, Amgen said the acquisition of Five Prime supports its international expansion strategy.

Gastric cancer is particularly prevalent in the Asia-Pacific region, where Amgen is expecting to generate ‘significant volume growth’ in the future.

The company said its would leverage its presence in Japan and other Asia-Pacific markets to maximise the potential of bemarituzumab in the gastric cancer market.

As part of the acquisition, Amgen will be set to receive a royalty percentage on future net sales in Greater China from the high teens to the low twenties, from the pre-existing co-development and commercialisation agreement between Five Prime and Shanghai-based Zai Lab.

“Amgen has global reach, world-class resources, and they share our deep passion for science and commitment to patients. I have full confidence that Amgen is the right company to work with us to bring our innovative cancer treatments to patients and to achieve our mission to rewrite cancer,” said Tom Civik, president and chief executive officer of Five Prime.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

5th March 2021

From: Sales

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