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Behind Amgen’s Plans to Expand in Neuroscience in 2017

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Neuroscience segment

On September 1, 2015, Amgen (AMGN) and Novartis (NVS) entered into an agreement to co-develop and co-commercialize three investigational drugs to target opportunities in the neuroscience segment, specifically in the areas of migraines and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Migraine program

Amgen and Novartis plan to initiate regulatory filings for a late-stage investigational migraine drug, Erenumab, in 2017. This is anti-calcitonin, gene-related peptide (or CGRP) monoclonal antibody (or mAb) is being explored for both episodic and chronic migraines. To know more about Erenumab, please refer to Market Realist’s “Behind Amgen’s Plans to Penetrate the Migraine Segment.”

Approximately 3.5 million migraine patients in the US are currently using preventive therapy. Amgen plans to target this patient population with its Erenumab, as the latter is required to be dosed subcutaneously on a monthly basis. A lower frequency of dosages may help Amgen compete with migraine players like Allergan (AGN) and Eli Lilly (LLY).

Amgen and Novartis are also studying another investigational pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide type I receptor mAb, AMG 301, for migraines. Now in its Phase 1 trial, this drug is expected to be a strong addition to Amgen’s migraine portfolio.

Alzheimer’s disease

Amgen and Novartis are also exploring the potential of CNP 520, a beta-site amyloid precursor, protein-cleaving enzyme-1 inhibitor that is in its Phase 2-3 trials, as a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. This investigational therapy is being tested in normal patients who have a greater genetic tendency to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Notably, the iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (IVV) has about 0.59% of its total portfolio in AMGN.

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