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Amgen buys back product rights from GSK

Prolia, Xgeva and Vectibix brought back in-house

Amgen headquarters

Amgen is reclaiming full marketing rights to three products currently being sold by GlaxoSmithKline in 48 countries around the world.

The US biopharma giant is reacquiring rights to denosumab - sold as Prolia for osteoporosis and Xgeva for bone metastases from solid tumours - and colorectal cancer therapy Vectibix (panitumumab).

In a statement, Amgen said bringing the drugs in-house would allow it to "directly serve more patients in key expansion markets" such as Brazil, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, Israel, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

The agreement "also allows Amgen to build additional commercial infrastructure in oncology and bone health, two strategically important therapeutic areas for Amgen with emerging late-stage pipeline assets," said the company's chief executive Bob Bradway.

Amgen is carrying out late-stage testing of romosozumab, an anti-sclerostin antibody for post-menopausal osteoporosis, reporting data recently showing it was superior to Eli Lilly's parathyroid hormone-based Forteo (teriparatide). 

It also has a number of cancer drugs coming through development - including immuno-oncology candidate Blincyto (blinatumomab) for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), which is approved in the US and under regulatory review in Europe, as well as oncolytic virus therapy Imlygic (talimogene laherparepvec), approved in the US in October.

Meanwhile, Prolia received a boost recently after it outperformed Novartis' intravenous bisphosphonate drug Zometa (zoledronic acid) in a phase IV comparative trial involving postmenopausal women with osteoporosis previously treated with oral bisphosphonates, commonly used as first-line therapy for the condition.

Amgen previously took back partial rights to Prolia in 2014, with Amgen assuming full marketing rights to the product in the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Russia and Mexico, with GSK saying at the time that the deal would allow it to focus in its own launches.

Amgen's sales of Prolia were $932m in the first nine months of 2015, a 30% increase on the same period of 2014, while Xgeva rose 17% to $1.04bn. Vectibix brought in $414m in the same period, with strong growth in the US.

GSK generated around $111m in revenues from the three products last year, and will receive undisclosed milestone fees after they transition back to Amgen. The UK pharma giant will continue to sell the drugs for an interim period which varies by country.

Article by
Phil Taylor

15th December 2015

From: Sales

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