Amgen has entered a definitive acquisition agreement with Dutch biotechnology firm Dezima Pharma for $1.55bn.

With this deal, Amgen adds another cholesterol drug to its expanding portfolio of treatments for cardiovascular diseases.

As part of the deal, Amgen will pay $300m in cash at closing and $1.25bn in additional payments on meeting certain development and sales milestones.

Dezima is focused on developing new treatments for dyslipidemia.

Amgen chairman and chief executive officer Robert Bradway said: "With the recent launches of Repatha (evolocumab) and Corlanor (ivabradine), and today’s acquisition of Dezima, Amgen is proud to be on the leading-edge of an exciting new wave of treatments for cardiovascular disease, an illness impacting millions of people worldwide."

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"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."

The deal adds Dezima’s lead experimental cholesterol treatment, TA-8995, to Amgen’s drug pipeline.

An oral, once-daily cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor, TA-8995 was found to be effective in reducing bad cholesterol in a Phase IIb clinical trial for dyslipidemia.

The company noted that LDL-C reduction was consistent when TA-8995 was administered as monotherapy or in combination with statins.

Amgen Research and Development executive vice-president Sean Harper said: "TA-8995 has demonstrated dramatic LDL-C lowering.

"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."

Subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

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

In return, 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 certain territories in Asia, including Japan.

In August, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Repatha as an adjunct to diet and maximally tolerated statin therapy to treat adults with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) or clinical atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).