Takeda returns rights to two Amgen drugs

Takeda has returned rights to two experimental drugs to Amgen, under an ongoing collaboration agreement.

The Japanese firm said under a revised agreement, rights for AMG403 and AMG386 will be returned to Amgen, effective immediately.

AMG 403 is also known as fulranumab – a nerve growth factor inhibitor which Johnson & Johnson has also turned its back on, earlier this year exiting a separate collaboration with Amgen for its use in osteoarthritis pain development which had reached phase 3 trials.

AMG-386 is also known as trebananib, a selective angiopoietin1/2 neutralising peptibody, which could potentially inhibit development of blood vessels within cancer tumours.

Takeda gave no further information as to why it lost interest in developing the drugs, but the arrival of newer immunotherapy drugs, which promise greater efficacy, may have persuaded the company the drug would have no commercial future.

Nevertheless, Takeda said it would continue to work with Amgen on the development and commercialisation of pipeline molecules and already approved products for the Japanese market, including Vectibix (panitumumab), a leading treatment for colorectal cancer.

Takeda’s European president, Marc Princen, earlier this year said he was optimistic about the company’s prospects after a “turnaround year” in 2015.

The company has been restructuring after a difficult period following loss of patent exclusivity on its big-selling diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone) a few years ago, and an ongoing debate about whether the drug is linked with bladder cancer.

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