Amgen Plans for Up to 5 Biosimilars by 2019

At a state-of-the-art facility in Thousand Oaks, California, drugmaker Amgen Inc. is perfecting the art of copying others, and it must work fast because copycats are already coming for Amgen's drugs.

At a state-of-the-art facility in Thousand Oaks, California, drugmaker Amgen Inc. is perfecting the art of copying others.

The 25,000-square-foot (2,300-square-meter) plant is filled with stainless steel tanks that can hold as much as 2000 liters, each covered with a multitude of dials, buttons and protruding pipes. This is where Amgen tests ways to grow Chinese hamster ovary cells to make its own drugs -- and imitations of other companies’ medicine.

Taking advantage of a 2010 US law, Amgen has prepared one of the most ambitious pipelines in the industry to develop drugs that mimic its rivals’ biologic treatments. The company plans to have as many as 5 such products, known as biosimilars, on the market by 2019.

Amgen must act fast, because copycats are coming for its drugs, too. Thanks to a regulatory ruling last Friday, the biotech company’s cancer drug, Neupogen, will be the first biologic medicine in the US to face competition from a government-approved biosimilar. That imitation, made by Novartis AG, could represent a threat to more than $7 billion in annual revenue for Neupogen and related medicine Amgen sells.

Read more at Bloomberg: http://bloom.bg/1GojoKo