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Amgen, Watson To Collaborate On Cancer Antibody Products

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Amgen Inc. (AMGN) and Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (WPI) agreed to work together on several cancer antibody biosimilar products, which they expect to sell under a joint label. Robert A. Bradway, Amgen's chief operating officer, touted the deal's potential to bring patients access to the medicines by pairing Amgen's biologics experience with Watson's generics and specialty drugs experience, as well as its commercial and distribution capabilities. Under the deal, Amgen will lead the development, manufacturing and initial commercialization of the oncology antibody products. Watson will initially receive royalties and sales milestones from product revenues, and it will contribute up to $400 million in codevelopment costs as well as share product development risks. Watson will also contribute expertise about the products' commercialization and marketing. The companies said they both believe their development and commercialization of the biosimilar products won't follow a pure brand or generic model. The also said they believed the treatments would require significant expertise, infrastructure, and investment to ensure safe, reliably supplied therapies for patients. The collaboration won't pursue biosimilars of Amgen's proprietary products. Biosimilar is a term used to describe "copycat" versions of biotech drugs, ones that are basically interchangeable with a previously approved biologic but because of the inherent complexity of the products cannot be termed identical. Shares in Amgen were up a half penny at $60.17 after hours, while Watson's were even with the close at $59.65. -By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; joan.solsman@dowjones.com

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