30 May 2013Americas

Amgen and Astellas join forces in Japan

California-based biotechnology company Amgen has entered into a long-term partnership with Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharmas Inc to provide new medicines in Japan.

It is the first stage of a long-term alliance that will focus on the development and commercialisation of five Amgen pipeline drugs in Japan for the treatment of cardiovascular and bone diseases, and cancers.

The medicines, which are in varying stages of development, include gastric cancer drug Rilotumumtab, osteoporosis treatment Romosozumab, and Blinatumomab, which is currently being tested to treat acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The first of the pipeline drugs is expected to launch commercially in 2016.

The companies announced they will establish a Tokyo-based joint venture company called Amgen Astella BioPharma KK, which will be staffed by current Amgen and Astellas employees as well as new hires. It is due to start operations on October 1, 2013.

The joint venture will become a wholly owned Amgen affiliate as early as 2020, after which the companies’ collaboration will continue.

“Through this alliance, Amgen will work closely with Astellas to leverage its extensive knowledge of the local market,” said Robert Bradway, chief executive of Amgen.

“This alliance will help accelerate development and commercialisation of Amgen medicines for patients in Japan,” he added.

Astellas’ chief executive Yoshihiko Hatanaka said: “We look forward to entering this alliance with Amgen and believe it will strengthen our pipeline to address unmet medical needs, as well as enable us to obtain growth drivers.

“We will work closely with Amgen to build the joint venture, which will provide innovative medicines to patients in Japan.”

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