Amgen’s biosimilar plans

Biosimilars/News | Posted 05/04/2013 post-comment0 Post your comment

Amgen was one of the first companies to recognize the potential of modern biotechnology and this has made it the world’s largest independent biotechnology firm.

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As of 9 August 2011, Amgen had twelve approved originator biologicals for seventeen conditions, including the blockbusters Aranesp (darbepoetin alpha), Enbrel (etanercept), Epogen (epoetin alpha), Neupogen (filgrastim) and Neulasta (pegfilgrastim).

Patents on these blockbusters have expired, or will soon expire, opening the door to biosimilars. Amgen, whilst defending its patents, is also pursuing biosimilars.

The biotech giant made a deal with generics maker Watson in December 2011 to collaborate on the development and commercialization of several cancer antibody biosimilars [1]. And in April 2012 another deal with clinical research organization PRA was announced for a series of phase III studies to develop several biosimilar drugs [2].

At its investor meeting in February 2013, Amgen outlined plans to launch a portfolio of six new biosimilars (four cancer drugs and two for inflammatory diseases) beginning in 2017. Amgen expects biosimilars to be a multi-billion dollar growth opportunity for the company.

Among the drugs that Amgen is developing biosimilars are for cancer treatments: Avastin (bevacizumab), Herceptin (trastuzumab), Rituxan/MabThera (rituximab) from Roche and Erbitux (cetuximab) from Eli Lilly; and for arthritis and Crohn’s disease treatments Humira (adalimumab) from AbbVie and Remicade (infliximab) from Johnson & Johnson.

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1.  GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Amgen finally jumps on biosimilars bandwagon []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2013 Apr 4] Available from:

2.  GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Amgen enters biosimilars deal with PRA []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2013 Apr 4]. Available from:

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Source: Amgen, Forbes, Reuters

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