Amgen Inc. (AMGN) completed a fifth late-stage study of its experimental anti-cholesterol medicine, leading competitors that are trying to bring a new class of therapies to a market estimated to be worth billions.
The new treatments target a protein called PCSK9 that’s associated with high levels of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol. Amgen’s drug, evolocumab, met the study goals, enabling the company to proceed with an application for approval this year from regulators, Thousand Oaks, California-based Amgen said yesterday in a statement.
That puts Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company by revenue, ahead by six months to a year of its closest rival in the drug class, a compound being developed by Sanofi (SAN) andRegeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN), according to Eric Schmidt, an analyst with Cowen & Co. He estimates Amgen’s drug may target as many as 17 million patients in the U.S., Europe and Japan.
By Meg Tirrell