) recently announced its intention to set up a joint venture (JV)
in China with Zhejiang Beta Pharma Co., Ltd. The JV will
focus on the commercialization of Amgen's colorectal cancer drug,
Vectibix, in China.
While Zhejiang Beta Pharma will hold a 51% stake in the JV,
Amgen-Beta Pharmaceuticals Co., the balance will be held by
Amgen. The setting up of the JV depends on the satisfaction of
closing conditions including approval from the concerned
government authorities in China.
The JV should benefit from Zhejiang Beta Pharma's development
capabilities as well as its strong oncology sales network in
This agreement is in line with Amgen's strategy of expanding
its presence across the world. Earlier this year, Amgen had
announced its intention to build a new manufacturing facility in
the Tuas Biomedical Park area of Singapore. The company expects
to manufacture both clinical as well as commercial products in
Meanwhile, earlier ithis month, Amgen reported encouraging
data on Vectibix from the phase III head-to-head ASPECT study.
The study compared Vectibix with
) Erbitux as a monotherapy treatment of chemorefractory
metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) in patients with wild-type
KRAS tumors. Results showed that Vectibix was non-inferior to
Erbitux for overall survival.
Adverse events included rash, diarrhea and hypomagnesemia.
Amgen will present detailed results from this study at an
upcoming meeting later this year.
Vectibix' label expansion would help boost product sales.
Vectibix sales came in at $359 million in 2012, up 11.5%.
Amgen currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). At
Anika Therapeutics Inc.
), a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock, looks well-positioned.
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