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Oct 22, 2013

Amgen Buys Roche Rights to Neutropenia Drugs

  • Amgen said today it is acquiring Roche's rights to the neutropenia drugs filgrastim and pegfilgrastim in approximately 100 markets outside the United States, effective January 1, 2014, for an undisclosed price.

    Filgrastim and pegfilgrastim are marketed by Amgen in the United States and Europe under the trade names Neupogen® and Neulasta®, respectively. But since 1989, Roche has held the rights to filgrastim and pegfilgrastim under license from Kirin-Amgen, a joint venture between Amgen and Japan’s Kirin Holdings, in Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

    In those regions of the world, filgrastim and pegfilgrastim generated a combined approximately $200 million in sales last year. Roche had not disclosed sales for either drug last year or earlier this year.

    For Amgen, Neupogen and Neulasta racked up a combined $2.782 billion in sales during the first half of 2013, up 3.4% from a year earlier, and $5.352 billion in 2012 combined sales, up 3% from 2011.

    The drugs are designed to reduce the risk of infection in patients receiving chemotherapy by boosting white blood cell counts.

    "This agreement will enable Amgen to reach more patients around the world with two of our innovative medicines," Robert A. Bradway, Amgen’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "The transaction will also allow us to build experience and capacity in countries that will be important in accelerating future growth of Amgen's pipeline products."

    Amgen said it will begin distributing and selling product “as soon as practical” in countries where the company has an existing commercial presence. In other countries, Roche or its distributors will continue to sell and distribute the products for an interim transition period.

    Amgen expects the deal will be accretive to its earnings starting in 2014.

    Japan’s Kyowa Hakko Kirin will continue to retain product rights and to market filgrastim and pegfilgrastim in parts of Asia, including China and Japan.



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