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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Is Amgen’s $1.9bn acquisition of the oncology biotech a good move?

Health Industry Hub | April 19, 2021 |

Pharma News: Amgen announced the completion of its planned acquisition of clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing immuno-oncology and targeted cancer therapies, Five Prime Therapeutics, for $1.9 billion.

“Five Prime fits squarely within Amgen’s leading oncology portfolio and includes bemarituzumab, a Phase 3 trial-ready, first-in-class program for gastric cancer, the third leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide,” said Robert A. Bradway, chairman and chief executive officer at Amgen. “Working with the dedicated professionals joining us from Five Prime, we plan to quickly move bemarituzumab into a Phase 3 study, bringing it one step closer to helping patients suffering from gastric cancer.”

Sakis Paliouras, PhD, Senior Oncology & Haematology Analyst at GlobalData, said “Amgen’s main interest in Five Prime’s pipeline was the lead, first-in-class anti-FGFR2b inhibitor bemarituzumab tested in gastric (GC) or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. While having shown an improvement over chemotherapy in a Phase II trial, bemarituzumab is expected to play a niche role in the management of GC.

“Bemarituzumab is expected to provide benefit only in the small share of patients who have evidence of FGFR rearrangements or other mutations, and not in the 30% of GC patients that could potentially be eligible in theory.

“Our forecast projects bemarituzumab’s peak sales in GC to reach only $67m in the 8MM*. However, expansion in multiple FGFR-affected indications, such as bladder cancer, is where the most upside resides, with a forecast $305m peak sales globally by 2027.

“More likely, Amgen is considering several molecules from Five Prime’s early-stage portfolio other than bemarituzumab, and with that information in mind, the premium paid to acquire Five Prime seems quite reasonable,” he noted.

*US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the UK, Japan, and South Korea


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