Amgen and AZ team up to fight inflammation

 AstraZeneca will collaborate with Amgen to develop and commercialise five products from the US biotech company’s portfolio of antibodies to fight inflammation.

The five monoclonal antibodies offer potential treatments for psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, asthma, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and lupus.

Under the terms of the agreement, the UK pharma company will make a one-off $50m upfront payment and then the companies will share costs and profits.

The collaboration will increase Amgen’s resources for drug development, drawing on the expertise of AZ’s biologics business MedImmune as well as its global commercial reach.

The companies will jointly develop and commercialise the following five assets from Amgen’s clinical-stage portfolio:

• Brodalumab (AMG 827), currently being investigated for psoriasis (planned phase III), psoriatic arthritis (phase II) and asthma (phase II).

• AMG 139, being investigated for Crohn’s disease (phase Ib).

• AMG 181, being investigated for ulcerative colitis (phase Ia) and Crohn’s disease ((phase Ib).

• AMG 557, being investigated for autoimmune diseases such as lupus (phase Ib).

• AMG 157, being investigated for asthma (phase Ib).

The agreement does not include certain territories covered by Amgen’s existing agreements with Kyowa Hakko Kirin for brodalumab and Takeda for AMG 557.

AZ will fund approximately 65% of costs for these products to the end of 2014, and then the companies will split costs equally. Amgen will book global sales and retain a single-digit royalty for the portfolio, after which they will share profits equally.

Amgen will lead the development and commercial strategy for brodalumab and AMG 557, while AZ will do the same for AMG 139, AMG 157 and AMG 181.

David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca, said: “This creative collaboration will make the most of both companies’ respective capabilities, including AstraZeneca’s extensive global reach, to help bring these potentially innovative treatment options for a variety of respiratory and inflammatory diseases to patients around the world.”

“We believe this collaboration has the potential to bring more therapies to patients sooner, across more geographic areas,” commented Kevin Sharer, CEO of Amgen. “We are impressed with AstraZeneca’s extensive experience in developing and launching products in the respiratory and gastroenterology areas, and believe this collaboration is an opportunity to work with a partner that has leading regulatory and commercial expertise in inflammation indications.”