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Amgen’s First Drug For Cardiovascular Disease Gets The Green Light

April 17, 2015 | About:

Amgen Inc.’s (NASDAQ:AMGN) much awaited drug for treatment of chronic heart failure has finally received approval from the U.S. FDA. This news took the stock higher by 1.83% to $168.50 in the extended trading session on April 15. The cardiovascular disease market proves to be a beneficial segment to invest in for pharmaceutical companies developing new molecules, since over 5 million U.S. citizens suffer from such chronic ailments. These patients are still prescribed to beta blocker drugs which work on reducing the heart rate. Let’s quickly find out how this new drug of Amgen that has finally crossed the approval stages of FDA could aid in better treatment of heart diseases, and how the company could benefit in its mission to cure such ailments in the long run.

On the mission to treat heart disease

The news of the approval was just like adding a feather to the biotechnology giant’s cap. In fact, the drug named “Corlanor” had received Fast Track designation in April last year and was later given Priority Review designation last August. Finally, the FDA has approved the use of the drug instead of other present beta blockers for patients suffering from chronic heart disease having resting heart rate of 70 beats per minute.

Amgen acquired the U.S. commercial rights on this drug from the French drugmaker, Servier which has been selling the medicine in Europe for almost the past 10 years. In a recent clinical trial, it has been proved that Corlanor significantly reduces the chance of rehospitalization which is an expensive affair in the case of heart failure.

The launch of this new cardiovascular drug positions Amgen favorably in the cardiology business and lays the groundwork for approval of its next drug targeting to lower cholesterol levels in heart patients, Evolocumab. Appreciating the newly launched drug of Amgen, Norman Stockbridge, director of FDA’s cardiovascular division, stated – “Heart failure is a leading cause of death and disability in adults, Corlanor ... represents the first approved product in this drug class…”

Revenue generation is likely on the cards

In spite of analysts speculating the success of Corlonar against the competing heart disease drug called LCZ696 from Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS), the company has associated the launch of Corlanor with improvement of net revenue earned in the American market.

RBC Market analyst, Michael Yee, said that in the long term Corlonar could become a $500 million a year drug for Amgen, meaning that it could soon attain the blockbuster drug status. But, as the price of the drug is probably going to cost around $4,500 per year for a mandatory twice-a-day dosing plan, analysts are skeptic whether patients would actually buy this medicine which could in turn directly affect the prescription count for the new drug and the overall cardiovascular drug sales of Amgen Inc. In the presence of several generic lower-priced cardiovascular drugs in the U.S. market, it remains to be seen whether the new drug of the biotech major gathers quick sales momentum in the days ahead.

Last word

The biotechnology company’s first cardiovascular drug will have to fight the intense competition prevalent in the cardiovascular market to grow the company’s sales in the upcoming days. While Amgen’s sales strategies remain solid going ahead, only time will tell whether the approved drug will create a niche for itself in the cardiovascular medicinal space.


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