As Repatha flounders, Amgen bolsters CV pipeline
- Amgen is tapping Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals to develop two RNA interference drugs for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, using Arrowhead's subcutaneous RNAi delivery platform. Amgen will be responsible for all development and commercialization.
- The deal will give Amgen a license to Arrowhead's RNAi ARC-LPA program, which is meant to reduce lipoproteins — a risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Amgen will also get a license to an undisclosed RNAi therapy that targets cardiovascular disease.
- Amgen will pay $35 million upfront and take a $21.5 million equity stake in Arrowhead. The smaller company is also eligible for $617 million in development, regulatory and sales milestone, along with royalty payments on any drug which reaches the market.
With the deal expected to close by the end of the year, Arrowhead has gained a mighty partner to help push its RNAi therapies forward. The drugs focus on silencing certain genes that are instrumental in the production of disease-causing proteins, instead of biding to those proteins like many other drugs on the market currently do.
While the programs included in the deal are both preclinical, Arrowhead already has several other RNAi-based therapies in development, including a Phase 2 candidate for hepatitis B.
For Amgen, this further strengthens its hold in the cardiovascular and cholesterol space. Amgen is behind the much-hyped PCSK9 inhibitor Repatha (evolocumab). The drug has failed to gain a foothold in the market and so far has had disappointing sales. Through the first six months of 2016, sales of the drug have only totaled $43 million. Once thought to have a blockbuster on its hands, Amgen is scrambling to bolster its offerings in the space.
- Amgen Statement
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