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Pharmaceuticals: AstraZeneca, Amgen join to advance monoclonal antibodies

by Rick Mullin
April 9, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 15

In the wake of cutbacks in their respective research operations, AstraZeneca and Amgen say they hope to advance biologic therapies for inflammatory diseases in a development and commercialization joint venture. They will work on a portfolio of five clinical-stage Amgen monoclonal antibodies, including one, brodalumab, that has completed Phase II trials as a psoriasis treatment.

The partners say AstraZeneca brings the expertise in developing respiratory, inflammation, and asthma therapies housed at MedImmune, its biologics arm, as well as its commercial inroads in respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases. The Amgen molecules have the potential to impact multiple indications, they say.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will make a one-time payment of $50 million to Amgen, and the companies will share the cost of development and profits on any drugs commercialized. AstraZeneca will fund approximately 65% of development costs for the first two years of the joint venture, after which the partners will share costs equally.

Bahija Jallal, head of R&D for MedImmune, tells C&EN that the partnership is in keeping with AstraZeneca’s strategy for advancing biologics. “Our portfolios are complementary, and we are capitalizing on the strength of the two companies,” she says.

The partnership follows the announced elimination of 2,200 research positions at AstraZeneca earlier this year and 380 research jobs at Amgen last October.


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