2021-04-02| M&AR&D

Amgen Makes Second Acquisition Move Within a Month, Bolsters Inflammatory Disease Portfolio

by Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin
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Amgen had a busy M&A activity in March, with two big acquisitions. Just a few weeks after the acquisition of Five Prime Therapeutics, on March 30th, it announced plans to acquire Seattle-based Rodeo Therapeutics.

Amgen essentially acquired Rodeo’s prostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) modulators to integrate with its inflammation portfolio. Under the acquisition agreement, Amgen will obtain all outstanding shares of Rodeo with a $55 million upfront payment as well as future contingent milestone payments potentially worth up to an additional $666 million in cash.

“The enzyme 15-PGDH plays a key role in many disease-relevant processes such as stem cell self-renewal and epithelial barrier repair. Given the encouraging preclinical data to date, we are excited about the opportunity to develop a novel therapy with potential in a range of important inflammatory disease indications,” said Raymond Deshaies, Ph.D., senior vice president of Global Research at Amgen.


Amgen’s Acquisition of Five Prime

Earlier in March, Amgen made a $1.9 billion deal to acquire Five Prime Therapeutics and lay its hands on bemarituzumab, a first-in-class, Phase 3 ready anti-FGFR2b antibody. Bemarituzumab is effective in stifling disease progression in patients with tumors for 9.5 months, two months longer than that for patients who received chemotherapy alone.

In the Phase 2 clinical trial, bemarituzumab demonstrated promising progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), objective response rate (ORR) in first-line FGFR2b-positive, HER2-negative advanced gastric cancer, or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer patients.

More indications could potentially be applied as some cancers are caused by over-expression of FGFR2b, like squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, and liver cancer.


Rodeo’s Growth

Founded by Accelerator Life Science in 2017 and raised $5.9 million in series A funding the same year. Rodeo focused on developing small-molecule therapies that increase tissue levels of prostaglandin PGE2.

Clinical studies suggest increasing PGE2 through modulation of 15-PGDH projects against colitis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), facilitates hematopoietic stem cell reconstitution after bone marrow transplant, and encourages liver regeneration in various animal models.

Thong Q. Le, president, and CEO of Rodeo, commented, “We are thrilled that Amgen recognizes the potential value and differentiated profile of our 15-PGDH inhibitor program. With decades of experience in developing, manufacturing, and commercializing innovative therapies for patients suffering from a broad range of immunologic diseases and conditions, Amgen is ideally positioned to rapidly advance our program into the clinic.”

By Judy Ya-Hsuan Lin

Related Article: Merck Spinoff Expands Healthcare Business by Investing $240 Million in Acquiring Alydia Health


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