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Amgen to acquire Avidia

Published on 05/10/06 at 12:39pm

Amgen is to pay $290 million to buy Avidia, a Californian biotech company which is developing innovative new protein-based medicines.

Based in Mountain View, California near Amgen's headquarters, Avidia is developing new drugs based on 'Avimer' proteins - a bead-like string of proteins which bind to a target site in the body.

The promise of the technology is that because each bead binds to a particular target site, this increases the relative amount of the drug where it is most needed and decreases where it is not. This approach could bring numerous advantages, including making the drugs more effective and with fewer side effects than existing treatments.

"The Avimer technology is among the most attractive protein-based technologies currently under development," said Roger Perlmutter, Amgen's head of R&D.

"Avimers may have several advantages as therapeutic products in terms of biological activity, tissue distribution, reduced immunogenicity and improved manufacturing efficiencies."

Avimer proteins target a wide range of disease areas, including inflammation, oncology and neurology.

The deal provides Amgen with Avidias lead candidate, an inhibitor of interleukin 6 (IL-6), for inflammation and auto-immune diseases which has just entered phase I trials.

Amgen has a strong product pipeline in areas such as cancer, bone health and inflammation and says Avidia and its drug development technology will strengthen its pipeline.

Peter Van Vlasselaer, Avidias chief executive, commented: ''I am very pleased with this transaction, which demonstrates the enormous value and potential of the Avimer protein technology platform as a groundbreaking new way to develop drugs.''

He added: ''We are looking forward to becoming part of the worlds leading biotechnology company. Amgens abundant resources and expertise will enable us to develop our technology and clinical programmes to their full capacity.''

Amgen will pay $290 million cash upfront to Avidia, and up to a further $90 million upon the achievement of milestones, with the company becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of its larger neighbour.

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