US-based biotechnology firm Amgen (AMGN) has acquired sales rights to Swiss drugmaker Roche’s two drugs Neupogen (filgrastim) and Neulasta (pegfilgrastim), which are used to boost the immune systems of cancer patients on chemotherapy in more than 100 markets.
As part of the deal, transfer of rights of both the drugs in several countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa will be effective from 1 January 2014.
The two drugs are marketed by Amgen in the US and Europe and generated around $200m in sales in these areas in 2012.
Since 1989, Roche has held the rights of these drugs in these regions under licence from Kirin-Amgen, a joint venture between Amgen and Japan-based Kirin Holdings.
Amgen chairman and chief executive officer Robert Bradway said the deal will allow the company to reach more patients around the world with two of its new medicines.
"The transaction will also allow us to build experience and capacity in countries that will be important in accelerating future growth of Amgen’s pipeline products," Bradway said.
Amgen would start distributing and selling product as soon as it is feasible in countries, where it has an existing commercial presence, while for an interim transition period Roche or its distributors would continue to sell and distribute the products in places where Amgen does not have a presence.
Amgen executive vice-president of global commercial operations Anthony Hooper said: "Amgen and Roche will work closely to ensure a seamless transition of the business, marketing authorisations, and most importantly, product supply to the physicians and patients that rely on these important medicines.
"Amgen is pleased to have the opportunity to prevent patients receiving myelosuppressive chemotherapy from developing febrile neutropenia in additional markets around the world."
The company said Japan’s Kyowa Hakko Kirin will continue to retain product rights and market both the drugs in selected Asian territories such as China and Japan.
Neulasta and Neupogen are designed to decrease the incidence of infection in patients with nonmyeloid malignancies receiving myelosuppressive anticancer drugs associated with a clinically significant incidence of febrile neutropenia and severe neutropenia with fever respectively.
Image: From 1 January 2014, Amgen will have sales rights of Roche’s two drugs Neupogen and Neulasta. Photo: courtesy of Coolcaesar.