Heart-felt matchup

Cytokinetics and Amgen to research and market cardiac contractility drugs

Jeffrey Bouley
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO—Cytokinetics Inc. will collaborate withThousand Oaks, Calif.-based  Amgen todiscover, develop and commercialize novel small-molecule therapeutics thatactivate cardiac muscle contractility for potential applications in thetreatment of heart failure. The collaboration covers markets worldwide, withthe exception of Japan.
Under the terms of the deal, Cytokinetics receives anon-refundable up-front license and technology access fee of $42 million. Inaddition, Amgen has purchased nearly 3.5 million shares of Cytokinetics commonstock at $9.47 per share and an aggregate purchase price of approximately $33million.
As part of the deal, Amgen also secured an option toparticipate in future development and commercialization of Cytokinetics' lead drugcandidate arising from its cardiac muscle contractility program. The leadcandidate, CK-1827452, recently completed two Phase 1 clinical trials.
"We've been working in this field of research for abouteight years, and what Amgen is doing in this collaboration is investing in thatresearch that already has been done, which allows for expanded work we mightnot have been able to do otherwise," says Robert I. Blum, president ofCytokinetics. "We have a large number of compounds that are cardiac myocinactivators and will be looking to optimize and characterize them in concertwith Amgen, looking for compounds that are chemically distinct andmechanistically similar, or chemically distinct and mechanisticallydissimilar."
"One of our key goals here is to really augment work we'vealready been doing as we risk-mitigate around the compound currently in clinicaltrials," he adds.
Joint research activities will focus on identifying andcharacterizing activators of cardiac myosin as potential backup and follow-ondrug candidates to CK-1827452. During the initial two year research term,Cytokinetics will continue to shoulder the cost of research, as well as fundingall development activities for CK-1827452. However, if CK-1827452  meets pre-defined criteria in Phase 2aclinical trials, Amgen could exercise an option to pay a non-refundableexercise fee of $50 million. Upon so doing, Amgen would thereafter beresponsible for development and commercialization of CK-1827452 and relatedcompounds, at its expense, subject to development and commercial participationrights of Cytokinetics.
In addition, Cytokinetics is potentially eligible for pre-commercializationand commercialization milestone payments of as much as $600 million onCK-1827452 and other products arising from the research, in addition toroyalties. "Both companies have built their business onfirst-in-class mechanism new drugs," Blum notes, saying that the deal only cametogether after several years of discussions between the two companies. "Neithercompany has been working in areas that have been competitive with each other orwhere we are a fast-follower. With both our companies, we're known forpioneering new mechanisms for compounds, so we're very aligned philosophicallyin terms of taking risks and realizing that rewards of that risk."

Jeffrey Bouley

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