Issue Date: February 11, 2008
Amgen, Takeda Ink Big Licensing Deal
AMGEN AND TAKEDA Pharmaceuticals have signed a licensing agreement under which the Japanese drugmaker will receive exclusive rights in Japan to develop and market 13 molecules in Amgen's pipeline. The deal also includes a global partnership for motesanib diphosphate (AMG 706), a small-molecule therapy for halting the growth of tumor blood vessels.
Takeda will pay the biotechnology company $200 million up front and up to $340 million in development costs over the next several years. Amgen will also receive up to $362 million in milestone payments and double-digit royalties for sales in Japan.
Separately, Takeda will pay $100 million up front and $175 million in milestone payments on two indications for AMG 706. The Japanese firm will also acquire Amgen's Japanese subsidiary, Amgen KK.
"The development programs included in this collaboration represent the growth engine for Amgen in the next decade," Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer says. "Takeda's confidence in these programs validates their potential to become innovative therapies for patients in Japan and worldwide."
William Q. Sargent Jr., an analyst at Banc of America Securities, agrees that the deal underlines the strength of Amgen's pipeline. "We believe the partnership's recognition of value in Amgen's pipeline is an incremental positive and would expect Amgen to seek additional novel codevelopment, product-specific deals in the future," he wrote in a report to clients.
An Amgen official said the company had announced previously that it was seeking drug development partners and opted to build on its presence in Japan.
Amgen has partnerships with two other Japanese firms, Kirin and Daiichi Sankyo. It has agreed to share with the latter marketing rights for a lead candidate in its pipeline, the bone-building drug denosumab (D-mab). That drug is not included in the deal with Takeda.
The new deal comes as Amgen faces questions about the safety of its portfolio of erythropoietin-stimulating agents for anemia. The situation has been taking a toll on the company's bottom line. Income dropped 3.5% in the third quarter of 2007 to $1.6 billion and sales were flat at $3.6 billion.
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