Amgen to buy Dezima Pharma for US$300m in cash

Also partners Xencor of Monrovia to develop novel therapeutics in the areas of cancer immunotherapy and inflammmation

Amgen is to buy Dezima Pharma, a privately-held, Netherlands-based biotechnology company developing treatments for dyslipidemia, in a move that will expand its portfolio of cardiovascular treatments.

Thousand Oaks, California-based Amgen will pay US$300m in cash and up to $1.25bn on meeting certain development and sales milestones.

Dezima shareholders have approved the deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Dezima's lead molecule is TA-8995, an oral, once-daily cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor. In a Phase 2b clinical trial for dyslipidemia, TA-8995 reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) by 45–48%.

'With a portfolio of TA-8995 and Repatha, our recently launched LDL-C lowering PCSK9 inhibitor, we will be able to offer more treatment options with different mechanisms of action and modes of administration across varying LDL-C levels and risk profiles,' said Sean Harper, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Amgen.

We will be able to offer more treatment options with different mechanisms of action and modes of administration

Dezima Pharma, which originally licensed rights to TA-8995 from Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC), will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen.

MTPC will receive from Dezima a portion of the upfront payment, future development and sales milestone payments, and royalties on net product sales if a certain threshold is reached. MTPC will also retain development and commercialisation rights to TA-8995 in territories in Asia, including Japan.

'We are delighted to join Amgen as the company has shown impressive leadership in the cardiovascular space by their rapid and state-of-the-art development program for Repatha, their  injectable PCSK9 inhibitor,' said Rob de Ree, Chief Executive of Dezima.

'Owning both Repatha and TA-8995, each innovative and complementary therapies with the potential to serve a broad range of patients with high cholesterol, will further solidify Amgen's position in the future treatment of dyslipidemia.'

Amgen's cardiovascular portfolio includes Repatha, Corlanor and omecamtiv mecarbil.

In its second announcement this week, Amgen has entered into a research and license agreement with Xencor, based in Monrovia, CA, in the US, to develop and commercialise novel therapeutics in the areas of cancer immunotherapy and inflammation. The collaboration brings together Amgen's capabilities in target discovery and protein therapeutics with Xencor's XmAb bispecific technology platform.

Amgen will be responsible for preclinical and clinical development and commercialisation worldwide. and will initially pay US$45m upfront to Xencor and up to $1.7bn in clinical, regulatory and sales milestone payments for six programmes. Xencor is also eligible to receive mid to high single-digit royalties for candidates directed against Amgen's targets, and high single to low double-digit royalties for Xencor's CD38 bispecific T cell engager.

'We are pleased to be joining forces with Xencor to expand our immuno-oncology and inflammation position by leveraging Amgen's antibodies and Xencor's bispecific antibody platform,' said Harper. 'We are especially excited about the T cell engaging bispecific antibody directed against CD38, which complements Amgen's BiTE platform, while growing our haematology and oncology portfolio that includes two bispecific T cell engager antibodies, BLINCYTO (blinatumomab) and AMG 330, as well as Kyprolis (carfilzomib) for relapsed multiple myeloma.'

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