2020-04-01| Asia-Pacific

Amgen to Serve Japanese Healthcare Market with Complete Ownership of 7 Year Joint Venture

by Ruchi Jhonsa
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By Ruchi Jhonsa, Ph.D.

Established in 1980, Amgen, a pioneer biotechnology company today announced that it has expanded its geographic presence in Japan by completing the purchase of 49% of shares of Amgen Astellas BioPharma KK (AABP) from Astellas Pharma Inc. Born in 2013, this joint venture was formed with an idea to bring together the strengths of Amgen’s medical innovations, and Astellas’ deep knowledge of medical needs in Japan to contribute to health care in the country.

With this complete ownership of the company, Amgen will be able to build a strong presence in Japan by bringing its global pipelines, ranging from cardiovascular disease, cancer, bone diseases, and neurological disorders. Amgen K.K. as it is now renamed will relocate its headquarters to Tokyo Midtown and will be headed by Steve Sugino as President and Representative Director.

“With roughly one-quarter of its population 65 or older, Japan will require ever more innovative medicines to treat diseases associated with the aging process,” said Robert A. Bradway, Chairman, and CEO of Amgen. “Our current and emerging portfolio of medicines matches up well with the needs of patients in Japan.”

Since its inception, the venture has launched three products in the Japanese market. Repatha was the first of its product launched in 2016 indicated for the treatment of patients with familial hypercholesterolemia in Japan. In 2018, another immunotherapy drug by the name Blincyto came out of the collaboration treating B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia followed by Evenity for osteoporosis treatment. The two companies will continue to work together on promoting these three products past this year in which Astellas will be responsible for the distribution and sales of the products.

Since 2011, Amgen expanded its presence from approximately 50 to 100 countries by investing its expertise and resources globally to serve the demand for better healthcare around the world. Late last year, Amgen entered into a strategic collaboration with BeiGene, a research-based oncology-focused biotechnology company to expand the oncology presence in China, which has approximately four million people diagnosed with cancer every year.

“Amgen medicines have been available for patients in Japan for many years through local partnerships, including most recently our joint venture with Astellas. Going forward, Amgen K.K. will continue marketing our treatments for patients with cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis, as well as new medicines emerging from our pipeline,” said Steve Sugino, president and representative director of Amgen K.K. “As Amgen K.K., we will continue to work and invest to become an even more valuable member of the healthcare community in Japan.”

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