Amgen and Astellas Form Joint Venture to Address Unmet Medical Needs in Japan

May 29, 2013

Amgen and Astellas have entered into a strategic alliance to provide new medicines for serious unmet medical needs of Japanese patients. The alliance leverages the complementary capabilities of both companies through an innovative business model that combines Amgen's pipeline candidates with Astellas' deep knowledge of Japanese patient and physician needs, long-term commercial and regulatory experience, and strong presence as a leading company in Japan.

Both companies will collaborate on the development and commercialization in Japan of five Amgen pipeline medicines, which include four biologics and one small molecule – AMG 145 for the treatment of hyperlipidemia; romosozumab (AMG 785) for osteoporosis; rilotumumab (AMG 102) and AMG 337 for gastric cancer; and blinatumomab (AMG 103) for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). These medicines range from early to late stages of development in Japan, with the first potential commercial launch expected as early as 2016.

Amgen and Astellas will also establish a Tokyo-based company under the name Amgen Astellas BioPharma KK. Through this joint venture, which is expected to begin operations on Oct. 1, 2013, both companies will work together to enable Amgen to rapidly build on-the-ground capabilities in Japan. It will become a wholly owned Amgen affiliate in 2020 with the long-term collaboration continuing.

"Through this alliance, Amgen will work closely with Astellas to leverage its extensive knowledge of the local market," said Robert A. Bradway , chairman and chief executive officer at Amgen, in a press release. "With Astellas' strong capabilities and excellent reputation, this alliance will help accelerate development and commercialization of Amgen medicines for patients in Japan. This alliance reflects our long-term commitment to the Japan market and is an important step in our global expansion efforts."

"We look forward to entering this alliance with Amgen and believe it will strengthen our pipeline to address unmet medical needs, as well as enable us to obtain growth drivers," said Yoshihiko Hatanaka, president and CEO of Astellas. "We will work closely with Amgen to build the joint venture, which will provide innovative medicines to patients in Japan."