Amgen – How Amgen’s Cancer Drug Acquisition Will Stack Up Against Bristol Myers
With competition eating into the sales of franchise products like Neupogen, the first-generation biotech company Amgen has been hustling to reinvent itself with new products and acquisitions.
Thursday morning, the company (ticker: AMGN) added to its anticancer pipeline with a $1.9 billion deal to acquire
Five Prime Therapeutics
(FPRX), a small company that is testing a targeted treatment for stomach cancers. Investors in
didn’t take much note.
Amgen stock slipped 1% in Thursday’s trading to close at $229.91, on a day when the
Index slid 2%. But Amgen’s $38 a share offer for Five Prime represented a substantial premium and Five Prime stock jumped 79% to end the day at $38.
Five Prime’s experimental drug bemarituzumab fits well with other stomach-cancer treatments that Amgen is developing, said Amgen financial chief Peter Griffiths, on a Thursday conference call. Stomach cancer is the No. 3 killer among cancers, and is particularly prevalent in Asia, where Amgen aims to increase its revenue. The acquisition should close in the June quarter.
A Thursday afternoon note by Raymond James analyst Dane Leone compared the Phase 2 trial performance of bemarituzumab against a recently reported Phase 3 trial of the
Bristol Myers Squibb
(BMY) product Opdivo in combination with chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for stomach cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is giving Opdivo a fast-track review after Bristol’s study showed that its drug lengthened survival by a couple of months, compared to chemotherapy alone.
The Phase 2 study of Five Prime’s drug with chemo stalled stomach cancer for a couple of months longer than chemo alone. Amgen expects to start a Phase 3 trial and says the drug could also prove effective against other solid tumors, such as lung cancer.
The Raymond James analyst expects the Bristol drug to become the standard treatment for stomach cancers driven by the cellular receptor that Opdivo targets— a worldwide population of 45,000 patients. Five Prime’s bemarituzumab could be used for patients whose cancers are driven by the different receptor targeted by that drug—a13,500 patient market, Leone estimates.
The analyst expects more deals by Amgen over the course of 2021. He rates the stock a Market Performer.
Write to Bill Alpert at email@example.com