Amgen strengthens oncology pipeline with $1.9bn Five Prime Therapeutics acquisition

Amgen is bolstering its oncology pipeline with the $1.9 billion acquisition of Californian biotech, Five Prime Therapeutics.

Five Prime’s lead asset, bemarituzumab, is a first-in-class, Phase 3 ready anti-FGFR2b antibody with positive data from a randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 2 study in frontline advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer.

Bemarituzumab targets FGFR2b, which has been found to be overexpressed in approximately 30% of patients with non-HER2 positive gastric cancer, as well as other solid tumors.

The bemarituzumab Phase 2 FIGHT trial demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements in progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS) and overall response rate (ORR) in the frontline treatment of patients with advanced gastric or GEJ cancer.

Additional analysis showed a positive correlation between efficacy and expression of FGFR2b on tumor cells, confirming both the importance of the FGFR2b target and the activity of bemarituzumab against this target.

This correlation suggests that FGFR2b could play a role in other epithelial cancers, including lung, breast, ovarian and other cancers.

The acquisition also supports Amgen’s international expansion strategy. Amgen plans to leverage its presence in Japan and other Asia-Pacific markets to maximise bemarituzumab’s potential.

In addition, as part of this transaction, Amgen will receive a royalty percentage on future net sales in Greater China ranging from the high teens to the low twenties from a pre-existing co-development and commercialization agreement between Five Prime and Zai Lab (Shanghai).

Five Prime’s additional innovative pipeline programs complement Amgen’s efforts to bring meaningful therapies to oncology patients.

“The acquisition of Five Prime offers a compelling opportunity for Amgen to strengthen our oncology portfolio with a promising late-stage, first-in-class global asset to treat gastric cancer,” said Robert A. Bradway, Chairman and CEO of Amgen.

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