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Amgen Taps GSK's Stiefel Unit To Promote Enbrel To Dermatologists

This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily

Executive Summary

Deal will aid Amgen's promotional efforts around Enbrel in psoriasis as the entrenched biologic faces down Humira, Stelara in the market.

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Deals Of The Week: Glaxo/Amgen; Bristol/Lilly; Sanofi-Aventis/Minsheng

GlaxoSmithKline/Amgen: Split indications are a potentially messy reality and no one understands that better than Amgen. The biotech's partnership with Johnson & Johnson for the erythropoietin stimulating agent Epogen escalated when the two companies began feuding over rights to market specific indications. Still Amgen seems willing to tread in those churning waters - as long as the partner is Glaxo. In its second indication-specific deal with the Big Pharma in less than a year - Prolia (denosumab) for post-menopausal osteoporosis was the first - Amgen this week announced a co-promote agreement with GSK's derm division, Stiefel Laboratories, around its flagship tumor necrosis factor drug Enbrel (etanercept). The agreement is a defensive move on the part of Amgen, designed to help the company maintain its leadership position despite an increasingly competitive and crowded field. Terms of the deal, which has Glaxo's sales reps promoting the drug to U.S. dermatologists, weren't disclosed. Importantly, this new marketing relationship extends only to dermatologists and has no impact on Amgen's existing promotional agreements with Pfizer, which co-markets the TNF-alpha inhibitor with the biotech in the U.S. and has sole marketing rights to the drug in other parts of the world. In the psoriasis market Enbrel is now the elder statesman, facing stiff competition from other anti-TNFs such as Abbott's Humira (adalimumab) as well as more novel agents, including J&J's recently launched Stelara (ustekinumab), a first-in-class interleukin-12 and 23 blocker that works by a different mechanism of action. It's not clear whether this lastest move will be enough to bolster Enbrel's long-term market share, however. While Enbrel remains "the first-choice biologic" for now, Decision Resources analyst Irene Koulinska told "The Pink Sheet" DAILY that she "expect[s] Humira to continue to steal patient share" (1"The Pink Sheet" DAILY, Jan. 29. 2010). "The deal with GSK may slow down this trend, but it will not change it," she said. - Jessica Merrill (2j.merrill@elsevier.com),

Deals Of The Week: Glaxo/Amgen; Bristol/Lilly; Sanofi-Aventis/Minsheng

GlaxoSmithKline/Amgen: Split indications are a potentially messy reality and no one understands that better than Amgen. The biotech's partnership with Johnson & Johnson for the erythropoietin stimulating agent Epogen escalated when the two companies began feuding over rights to market specific indications. Still Amgen seems willing to tread in those churning waters - as long as the partner is Glaxo. In its second indication-specific deal with the Big Pharma in less than a year - Prolia (denosumab) for post-menopausal osteoporosis was the first - Amgen this week announced a co-promote agreement with GSK's derm division, Stiefel Laboratories, around its flagship tumor necrosis factor drug Enbrel (etanercept). The agreement is a defensive move on the part of Amgen, designed to help the company maintain its leadership position despite an increasingly competitive and crowded field. Terms of the deal, which has Glaxo's sales reps promoting the drug to U.S. dermatologists, weren't disclosed. Importantly, this new marketing relationship extends only to dermatologists and has no impact on Amgen's existing promotional agreements with Pfizer, which co-markets the TNF-alpha inhibitor with the biotech in the U.S. and has sole marketing rights to the drug in other parts of the world. In the psoriasis market Enbrel is now the elder statesman, facing stiff competition from other anti-TNFs such as Abbott's Humira (adalimumab) as well as more novel agents, including J&J's recently launched Stelara (ustekinumab), a first-in-class interleukin-12 and 23 blocker that works by a different mechanism of action. It's not clear whether this lastest move will be enough to bolster Enbrel's long-term market share, however. While Enbrel remains "the first-choice biologic" for now, Decision Resources analyst Irene Koulinska told "The Pink Sheet" DAILY that she "expect[s] Humira to continue to steal patient share" (1"The Pink Sheet" DAILY, Jan. 29. 2010). "The deal with GSK may slow down this trend, but it will not change it," she said. - Jessica Merrill (2j.merrill@elsevier.com),

Amgen To Re-Submit Prolia BLA In "The Very Near Future"

At the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer said the development of REMS and post-approval safety surveillance has been holding the company up.

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