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GEN News Highlights : Sep 29, 2006

Amgen to Acquire Avidia

Assets include clinical-stage IL-6 compound and Avimer™ protein platform.
Amgen entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Avidia, a privately held biopharmaceutical company that discovers and develops a class of human therapeutics known as Avimer™ proteins. The transaction provides Amgen with Avidia’s lead product candidate, an inhibitor of interleukin 6 (IL-6), for the treatment of inflammation and autoimmune diseases.

Under terms of the agreement, Amgen will pay $290 million cash, net of existing cash balances, Amgen’s existing equity stake in Avidia, and up to $90 million upon the achievement of certain milestones. Following the completion of the transaction, Avidia will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen.

Avidia focuses on biotherapeutics consisting of single protein chains composed of modular binding domains, like beads on a string. This platform can be used to create multiple, protein-based therapeutics. Each bead is designed to bind to a particular target site, thus increasing the relative amount of the drug where it’s most needed and decreasing the amount of the drug where it’s not desired, creating more favorable safety profiles.

“The Avimer technology is among the most attractive protein-based technologies currently under development,” notes Roger M. Perlmutter, M.D., Ph.D., Amgen’s executive vp for R&D. “Avimers may have several advantages as therapeutic products in terms of biological activity, tissue distribution, reduced immunogenicity, and improved manufacturing efficiencies.”