Global biotech firm, Amgen has announced its acquisition of German/U.S. cancer drug developer,Â Micromet for $1.2 billion. The buyout means that Amgen will stand to get Micromet’s US headquarters as well as one of its R&D centers in Munich.
Scientists at Micromet have been hatching new antibody programs to fight cancer using its BiTE technology. Now that Amgen has acquired Micromet, the big biotech company will also gain Micromet’s lead treatment, blinatumomab, a bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) which is one of the 5 trial drugs for acute lymphoblastic leukemia which has already reached mid-stage development.
The BiTE technology is a technology which uses an antibody to redirect killer T cells to destroy tumor cells. The technology is difficult to work well, according to Amgen R&D chief RogerÂ Perlmutter, but Micromet has been successful in achieving it for the past decade.
The most recent data on blinatumomabÂ in December has been a positive one. 70% of patients with relapsed or refractory lymphoblastic leukemia patients which are commonly type of patients most difficult to treat have achieved a complete response. “There was no evidence of a residual tumor,” says Perlmutter. “That’s a remarkable result.”
Amgen’s interest does not stop at the lead program. The same technology has the potential to work in solid tumors, which would greatly increase its value in oncology. Perlmutter claimed that now that Micromet has been acquired, its Munich center will become a new “center of excellence” in Amgen’s worldwide operation.
“The acquisition of Micromet is an opportunity to acquire an innovative oncology asset with global rights and a validated technology platform with broad potential clinical applications,” said outgoing Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer. “Blinatumomab will serve as an important complement to our oncology pipeline and is representative of our corporate strategy, which is focused on developing and successfully commercializing therapeutics to treat patients with grievous illness.”
The deal also marks a final success for Micromet CEO Christian Itin, who’s been shepherding the company into the mid-stage point.
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