AstraZeneca, Amgen partner on monoclonal antibodies

Development and commercialization agreement to cover five antibodies from Amgen's clinical inflammation portfolio

Kelsey Kaustinen
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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.--AstraZeneca and Amgen have announced an agreement for thejoint development and commercialization of five monoclonal antibodies fromAmgen's clinical inflammation portfolio.
Per the terms of the agreement,AstraZeneca will make an upfront payment of $50 million, and the two companieswill share costs and profits, with current plans being that AstraZeneca will beresponsible for 65 percent of costs for the 2012-2014 period. After thatperiod, AstraZeneca and Amgen will split all costs equally. Amgen will booksales globally, in addition to retaining a low single-digit royalty forbrodalumab and a mid single-digit royalty for the rest of the portfolio, withthe companies sharing profits equally after that.
"We are very excited at the prospect of collaborating with awell-respected organisation like AstraZeneca to advance our inflammationpipeline. We believe this collaboration has the potential to bring moretherapies to patients sooner, across more geographic areas," Kevin Sharer,chairman and CEO of Amgen, said in a press release. "We are impressed withAstraZeneca's extensive experience in developing and launching products in therespiratory and gastroenterology areas, and believe this collaboration is anopportunity to work with a partner that has leading regulatory and commercialexpertise in inflammation indications."
The agreement will focus on the development of AMG 139, AMG157, AMG 181, AMG 557 and AMG 827, or brodalumab. Amgen and AstraZenecaconsider all the molecules to have novel profiles and potential in multipleindications across the field of inflammatory diseases. 
Brodalumab is being studied for the treatment of psoriasis,psoriatic arthritis and asthma. AMG 139 is currently being investigated as atreatment for Crohn's disease, with possible applications for treatingpsoriasis. AMG 181 is under investigation for the treatment of ulcerativecolitis and Crohn's disease, while AMG 557 is being studied as a treatment forautoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus. AMG 157 is being studiedin Phase Ib trials as a potential treatment for asthma.
AstraZeneca will lead development and commercialization ofAMG 139, 157 and 181, while Amgen will lead development and commercializationfor the other two compounds, with each lead under the oversight of jointgoverning bodies. Commercial promotion will be split between the two in termsof brodalumab, with Amgen promoting in dermatological indications in the UnitedStates and Canada and rheumatology indications in the United States, Canada andEurope. AstraZeneca will promote in respiratory and, initially, dermatologyindications across all territories outside of the United States, Canada, andother markets in which Amgen has existing partnerships. Promotion rights forother markets, indications and molecules will be determined at a later date.
"We are delighted to join forces with Amgen in developingand commercializing these novel clinical-stage assets that add value to ourpipeline and build on our expertise in biologics," David Brennan, CEO ofAstraZeneca, said in a press release. "This creative collaboration will makethe most of both companies' respective capabilities, including AstraZeneca'sextensive global reach, to help bring these potentially innovative treatmentoptions for a variety of respiratory and inflammatory diseases to patientsaround the world."
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