Amgen Boosts Oncology Portfolio with Five Prime Buy

10.03.2021 - Amgen is to buy Five Prime Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotech focused on developing immuno-oncology and targeted cancer therapies, for about $1.9 billion. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, when a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen will merge with Five Prime.

“The acquisition of Five Prime offers a compelling opportunity for Amgen to strengthen our oncology portfolio with a promising late-stage, first-in-class global asset to treat gastric cancer,” said Robert Bradway, Amgen’s chairman and CEO.

Five Prime's lead asset is bemarituzumab, a first-in-class, Phase 3 ready anti-FGFR2b antibody that has potential to treat advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer. Bemarituzumab targets FGFR2b, which has been found to be overexpressed in approximately 30% of patients with non-HER2 positive gastric cancer, as well as other solid tumors.

A Phase 2 trial also showed a positive correlation between efficacy and expression of FGFR2b on tumor cells, suggesting that FGFR2b could play a role in other epithelial cancers, including lung, breast and ovarian cancers.

Amgen said the acquisition supports its international expansion strategy. Gastric cancer is one of the world's most common forms of cancer and is particularly prevalent in Asia-Pacific, where Amgen expects to generate significant volume growth in the coming years.

The California-based biotech plans to leverage its presence in Japan and other Asia-Pacific markets to maximize bemarituzumab's potential. As part of the purchase, Amgen will also receive a royalty percentage on future net sales in Greater China from a pre-existing co-development and commercialization agreement between Five Prime and Zai Lab (Shanghai).

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist