Amgen announces alliance with Cytokinetics worth a potential $600 million; expands agreement with Galapagos

Amgen announced Wednesday that it entered into a strategic alliance with Cytokinetics to discover and develop small-molecule therapeutics for the treatment of heart failure. The deal may be worth more than $600 million for Cytokinetics. Additionally, Amgen expanded a drug discovery collaboration with Galapagos.

Regarding the strategic alliance, Cytokinetics will receive an upfront payment of $42 million and Amgen will also purchase about $33-million worth of shares in Cytokinetics, or a 9.2 percent stake in the company, Bloomberg reports. Cytokinetics will perform research at its own expense and will continue to be responsible for all development activities for lead compound CK-1827452 during an initial two-year research term.

Also under the deal's terms, Amgen has an option to take over responsibility for CK-1827452, which was recently tested in two Phase I trials. If Amgen exercises its option, it will pay Cytokinetics a $50-million fee and subsequently be responsible for all development and marketing activities for the drug and related compounds. Cytokinetics could receive up to $600 million in milestone payments as well as royalties on products, including CK-1827452, that reach the market. The collaboration is on a worldwide basis, excluding Japan, the drugmakers noted in a statement.

In separate news, Amgen expanded a drug discovery agreement with Galapagos through 2008. The amended deal, which expands a 2003 collaboration over ion channel targets, now includes all classes of targets including GPCR and kinase targets. Galapagos will receive an upfront payment of $4.2 million for 2007 research costs, and may be eligible for additional monetary compensation.

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