Amgen’s $1.9bn bet on Five Prime Therapeutics will require more than one label for bemarituzumab to pay off, says GlobalData

Following today’s news (16 April) that Amgen has completed its planned acquisition of Five Prime Therapeutics for $1.9bn;

Sakis Paliouras, PhD, Senior Oncology & Hematology Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:

“Amgen’s main interest in Five Prime’s pipeline was the lead, first-in-class anti-FGFR2b inhibitor bemarituzumab tested in gastric (GC) or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. While having shown an improvement over chemotherapy in a Phase II trial, bemarituzumab is expected to play a niche role in the management of GC, even if it progresses to a registrational study and receives Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

“In fact, according to key opinion leaders interviewed by GlobalData, bemarituzumab is expected to provide benefit only in the small share of patients who have evidence of FGFR rearrangements or other mutations, and not in the 30% of GC patients that could potentially be eligible in theory.

“GlobalData’s patient-based forecast projects bemarituzumab’s peak sales in GC to reach only $67m in the 8MM*. However, expansion in multiple FGFR-affected indications, such as bladder cancer, is where the most upside resides, with a forecast $305m peak sales globally by 2027.

“Amgen is uniquely poised to take advantage of Five Prime’s preclinical and early-stage clinical research, with significant experience in multiple mechanisms of action in oncology and taking first-in-class molecules to market. More likely, Amgen is considering several molecules from Five Prime’s early-stage portfolio other than bemarituzumab, and with that information in mind, the premium paid to acquire Five Prime seems quite reasonable.”

*8MM: The US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the UK, Japan, and South Korea

More Media