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Amgen raises forecasts after closing $13.4bn Otezla deal

Scope to build product further with ongoing trials in additional indications

Amgen flag

Amgen lost no time completing its acquisition of psoriasis blockbuster Otezla in the wake of the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Celgene merger, and promptly raised its 2019 sales forecasts.

The opportunistic, $13.4bn cash deal to get control of Otezla (apremilast) completed the day after the BMS deal closed, satisfying a key antitrust requirement imposed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the merger.

Otezla grew 26% to reach $1.6bn in sales across its psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and Behçet's disease indications last year, and has continued its expansion this year with a tally of $1.43bn in the first nine months of the year as it continues to roll-out in world markets.

Amgen says it expects “at least low double-digit percentage Otezla sales growth, on average…over the next five years”.

That stellar performance means Amgen has raised its full-year sales forecasts to $23.1-$23.3bn – with earnings per share of $14.50-$14.70, up from earlier estimates of $22.8- $23bn and $14.20-$14.45, respectively.

“As the prevalence of chronic inflammatory diseases increases worldwide, Otezla represents a unique opportunity to further Amgen's mission of bringing innovative medicines to patients, while building on our long-standing expertise in inflammation,” said Amgen chief executive Robert Bradway.

There is scope to build the product even further as phase 3 trials in scalp psoriasis have already produced positive results, and there are ongoing trials in genital psoriasis and paediatric plaque psoriasis that could also expand the eligible patient population.

Otezla slots into Amgen’s existing psoriasis and anti-inflammatory product range, which includes Enbrel (etanercept) and Amgevita, its biosimilar of AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab) which is approved and already available in Europe and approved ahead of a likely US launch in 2023.

Celgene/BMA will continue to produce Otezla finished goods for Amgen under a contract manufacturing agreement for up to two years, which can be extended, and will also provide other support services under the same timeframe.

Some workers will be joining Amgen from Celgene as a result of the takeover, said Bradway.

Otezla is the leader in the market segment for treating psoriasis in patients who have progressed from topical treatments, and who want to try an oral treatment before having to progress to a biologic, such as AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab).

Article by
Phil Taylor

22nd November 2019

From: Sales

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