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Amgen Losing Hold on Anemia Drug Market
The anemia drug market is going to get a little more cramped as drug manufacturers vie for a piece of Amgen’s (Thousand Oaks, CA, www.amgen.com) business. As reported last week in The New York Times (Dec. 23), a bevy of companies are developing anemia drugs to compete with Amgen’s “Epogen” and “Aranesp.”
The article reports that Amgen’s biggest competition could come from Swiss-manufacturer Roche (Basel, Switzerland, www.roche.com) which is in the middle of a pre-emptive patent infringement suit with Amgen. The article points out that Amgen’s patents have expired in Europe, where Roche is free to release its anemia drug “Cera,” however, Amgen’s US patents are good until 2015. Companies contest that Amgen purposely delayed and rejected patent applications stall approval, thereby elongating the patent’s lifespan. According to the article, Amgen expects approximately $6 billion in revenues this year for Epogen and Aranesp alone.