2022-06-28| Licensing

Amgen Out-Licenses Two Therapies to Fosun Pharma to Expand Presence in China

by Reed Slater
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In a June 27 announcement, Amgen said it would provide Fosun Pharma the licensing rights to Otezla and Parsabiv to expand its presence in China. Otezla is a plaque psoriasis treatment, and Parsabiv treats secondary hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) in patients with chronic kidney disease. The collaboration is Amgen’s most recent attempt to gain a stronger foothold on the Chinese pharmaceutical market.


Amgen’s Quest to Get into the Chinese Market


The partnership with Fosun Pharma is only Amgen’s most recent step to getting further into the Chinese market. Amgen’s endeavor started in 2012 when it first established an affiliate in China headquartered in Shanghai with a representative office in Beijing. 

Establishing a headquarters in China was followed by strategic partnerships and collaborations with the likes of ShanghaiTech University when they established a research and development center unveiled in 2014. Amgen also partnered with Simcere Pharmaceutical Group, with which the two agreed to collaborate on inflammation and oncology treatment candidates. More recently, Amgen acquired a 20.5% stake in Beijing-based Beigene in 2019 at a value of $2.7 billion. 

Irene Hsu, Vice President and General Manager of Amgen China, said, “This decision – to enter into a collaboration with a local partner – is consistent with our determined focus to bring our innovative medicines to more Chinese patients more quickly.”

The most recent deal with Fosun Pharma will provide access to millions of patients needing treatment options for psoriasis and SHPT.

Related article: Organon Licenses Biosimilars From Shanghai’s Henlius For $103 Million


Reaching Millions of Chinese Patients With Two Treatments


Amgen purchased Otezla for Celgene in 2019 for a whopping $13.4 billion, two years before the FDA approved the drug. Since then, the drug has proven fruitful in the US as a first-line treatment for psoriasis. 

Expanding into China will garner access to 6.5 million patients with psoriasis, 57.3% of which are classified as moderate to severe cases. Approved by the National Products Administration of China in 2021, Otezla is the only oral phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor available to treat plaque psoriasis patients in China. 

The second drug in the deal, Parsabiv, received FDA approval in 2017 and is in the process of market authorization approval in China. If Parsabiv is approved for use in China, it could be used to treat the roughly 735,000 patients on dialysis. 

Amgen’s 2020 revenue was $25.42 billion without much access to the Chinese market. If the giant company continues to spread its tendrils throughout the massive Asian nation, the sky’s the limit for Amgen. The most recent collaboration with Fosun Pharma appears to be just the beginning of Amgen’s big ambitions to push into the Chinese market.


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