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ROCHE WILL CO-MARKET AMGEN's NEUPOGEN (G-CSF) IN EUROPE

Executive Summary

ROCHE WILL CO-MARKET AMGEN's NEUPOGEN (G-CSF) IN EUROPE under an agreement announced Sept. 28. "Upon launch, the product will be sold under the Amgen trademark by sales forces of both companies," the two companies stated in a joint press release. Amgen said it will begin building a European sales force, which will be operational at the time of product's anticipated 1991 launch. Licensing applications are planned for both the European Economic Community and the U.S. in 1989, the biotech firm noted. The recombinant granulocyte colony stimulating factor, currently in Phase III trials, is being studied in patients with various types of cancer. The hormone is potentially useful in immune-compromised patients, Amgen explained, because it stimulates the production of neutrophils, a class of white blood cells that defend the body against bacterial infection. Neupogen is likely to be the second Amgen product to reach the European market. The first, erythropoietin, was recently approved in Switzerland for treatment of anemia in patients with end-stage renal disease. The new Amgen European sales force will not market recombinant erythropoietin; J&J subsidiary Cilag has exclusive European rights to the product. In Europe, erythropoietin is marketed under the (ITALICS)Eprex brand. Amgen Chairman George Rathmann called the agreement "a significant milestone" for the company that will establish Amgen's operational base for entry into Europe. "With an outstanding partner in Hoffmann-LaRoche, we are assured of an aggressive European launch for this major therapeutic product," he added.

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