Amgen, Astra to Collaborate on Drug Development
By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 09 Apr 2012
Amgen (Thousand Oaks, CA, USA) and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (London, United Kingdom) have announced a joint collaboration to develop and sell five biotech drugs currently in Amgen's developmental pipeline.
Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will make an upfront payment of USD 50 million to the biotechnology company, and both companies will share costs and profits on the drugs for a variety of autoimmune, inflammatory, and respiratory diseases. The collaboration will provide Amgen with additional resources to help advance its product portfolio, and give Astra access to new medicines at a time when its own pipeline is relatively barren, and it is facing competition from cheap generic versions of its antipsychotic drug Seroquel.
Recent AstraZeneca setbacks with experimental medicines for depression, ovarian cancer, and diabetes have hurt investor confidence in the company's ability to rejuvenate its pipeline internally, leading to the company’s search for external partners in drug development. About 65% of the costs of the collaboration through 2014 will be funded by AstraZeneca, after which the companies will split costs, as well as profits, equally. Amgen will book sales globally and retain a low single-digit royalty for Brodalumab and a mid single-digit royalty for the rest of the portfolio.
The most advanced of the five drugs to be shared is Brodalumab, which is about to begin Phase III clinical trials for psoriasis, and is also being tested for psoriatic arthritis and asthma. The other drugs, all at a much earlier stage of development, are AMG 139 for Crohn's disease; AMG 181 for ulcerative colitis and Crohn's; AMG 557 for lupus; and AMG 157 for asthma. Under the terms of the collaboration, Astra will take the lead for development and commercial strategy of AMG 139, AMG 157, and AMG 181, while Amgen will lead the development and commercial strategy for Brodalumab and AMG 557.
“We have a lot of things that we want to move forward and there are financial constraints everywhere with how much you can do,” said Joe Miletich, senior vice president for research and development at Amgen. “We still have many more things that we're still moving on our own, and this actually will help free some resources so we can continue to innovate in bringing some of the programs in our earlier pipeline along in a way that might not have been possible if we were funding these all on our own.”