Amgen said April 10 that it plans to buy San Francisco-based KAI Pharmaceuticals for $315 million in cash in a deal that would give it worldwide rights to an experimental treatment for patients with chronic kidney disease.
Thousand Oaks-based Amgen said the deal would give it worldwide rights, excluding in Japan, to KAI’s lead product, a drug that’s being studied for secondary hyperparathyroidism in dialysis patients. Under the terms of the agreement, Amgen has provided a loan to enable Phase 3 clinical development for the treatment prior to the closing of the acquisition.
The proposed KAI purchase is the third major deal announced by Amgen this year. In January, the firm said it was buying Micromet, a leukemia drug maker, for $1.2 billion, its largest deal since 2005. Last week, Amgen said that it is entering a drug development agreement with London-based AstraZeneca to jointly bring to market five anti-inflammation drugs.
The latest string of deals come as Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm with a market capitalization of $60 billion and about $15 billion in annual sales, undergoes big changes. Its top executive and medical leadership are changing as longtime CEO Kevin Sharer prepares to retire next month, handing over the reins to Robert Bradway, and as Roger Perlmutter hands over medical research to Sean Harper.
Amgen has struggled in recent years to find new blockbuster drugs after federal reimbursement policies and labeling changes diminished sales of its biggest-selling anemia drugs. Its only megahit in the last five years has been denosumab, an osteoporosis treatment.
In 2011, after years of consistent profits but lackluster stock performance, the company set in place its first dividend payment. Late in the year, it cut 380 research and development jobs — the majority at its Ventura County headquarters — and issued a $5 billion share buyback.
Amgen shares were down 0.5 percent at $66.70 in morning trading after the KAI deal was announced.