Cancer-drug success

first_imgTHOUSAND OAKS – Amgen Inc.’s latest cancer fighter turned out to be an even better warrior than it expected, the biotech giant announced Thursday. The company co-developed panitumumab to fight metastatic colorectal cancer with Fremont-based Abgenix Inc., receiving fast-track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in July. In the recently completed study, the companies expected one-third of patients to survive with no progression of symptoms. After testing it on 463 patients who had not improved after chemotherapy, they were surprised to find that 46 percent instead survived without their symptoms progressing. “We saw some tumor shrinkage and, in addition, we slowed the rate of tumor progression,” said Trish Hawkins, a spokeswoman for Amgen. “It’s exciting, because it potentially offers a new option.” The deal between companies goes back 10 years, when Abgenix partnered with Immunex. Amgen purchased the latter company and continued the agreement in 2003, agreeing to handle development and commercialization, while Abgenix manufactures the drug. The companies, which split costs and profits equally, hope to win FDA approval for a launch in 2006. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Colorectal cancer is the third most common kind of cancer in America, with 100,000 new cases diagnosed annually. “It’s exciting news for the company and important news for cancer patients,” said Greg Mann, director of corporate communications for Abgenix. “It gives them an alternative when they’ve failed with chemotherapy.” Shares of Amgen moved up $3.61, or 4.9 percent, to close at $77.51 after release of the news Thursday morning. Abgenix added $3.53, or 38 percent, to close at $12.90. Brent Hopkins, (818) 713-3738 [email protected] last_img read more