AMGEN GAMMA INTERFERON U.S. CLINICAL TRIALS ARE THE FIRM's FIRST -- ANNUAL REPORT
Amgen's first therapeutic product to enter clinical trials is recombinant DNA gamma interferon, which the firm began testing in humans earlier this year, according to Amgen's 1985 annual report. Gamma interferon is one of four human therapeutic agents which Amgen says will be in clinical testing by the end of the year. One of the four, Consensus interferon, is reported to have "five to ten times the potency of any known alpha interferon," the annual report states. The company has indicated that animal studies have shown that the product allows lower doses than alpha while achieving greater antitumor and antiviral activity. In May 1984, Amgen entered into a 50-50 joint venture with the Japanese beer mfr., Kirin, for the production and worldwide marketing of erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone responsible for controlling red blood cell production ("The Pink Sheet" May 21, 1984, p. 19). According to the report, EPO is expected "to be of significant therapeutic benefit to kidney dialysis patients." Amgen will manufacture EPO at its new Thousand Oaks production facility and market the product in the U.S., while Kirin will do so in Japan. The two firms will jointly market EPO in the rest of the world, the report states. Another product in the Amgen pipeline is a recombinant hepatitis B vaccine, which the company says it will be able to produce "at a lower cost than any other known competing product." The report notes that the largest potential market for the vaccine is the Far East, where there will be "in excess of 100 mil. doses per year for the foreseeable future." Finally, the company is also working on a rDNA interleukin-2 product, which it says may be effective in treating white cell depression.
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