UK largest drugmaker AstraZeneca has teamed with Daiichi Sankyo, Japan's third largest pharmaceutical company to co-promote US-based biotechnology company Amgen's new drug denosumab in Japan for the treatment for bone cancer disorders.
AstraZeneca and Amgen's licensing partner in Japan, Daiichi Sankyo will co-promote denosumab after it is approved for use in Japan. AstraZeneca did not disclose financial details of the deal.
Bone metastasis is one of the most frequent causes of pain for cancer patients which can cause bone fractures and reduces ability to maintain normal quality of life including day-to-day activities. Denosumab, with its novel mode of action and targeted delivery via a monthly subcutaneous injection, represents a new treatment option in Japan for the management of bone metastasis across a broad range of cancer types.
AstraZeneca said that Denosumab is the first approved therapy that specifically targets Rank Ligand, an essential regulator of osteoclasts (the cells that break down bone). By targeting Rank Ligand regulator, denosumab has shown the ability to prevent the spread of cancer to the bone. Bone metastasis occurs when cancer cells from the primary tumour relocate to the bone.
In Japan, Daiichi Sankyo acquired denosumab rights in 2007 from Amgen. The company filed a Japanese New Drug Application (JNDA) in August 2010.
Analysts have forecast annual denosumab sales of $3.3 billion by 2015, according to Thomson Reuters Pharma.
Tony Zook, executive vice president of AstraZeneca's global commercial organisation said, ''Collaborations like this are a key part of our strategy to bring innovative medicines to patients. This partnership leverages our long-standing commitment to oncology in Japan, and we look forward to contributing our expertise in this area to bring this novel cancer treatment to patients upon approval.''
Japan is AstraZeneca's second largest market globally. with revenue growing by 4 per cent in 2010 to $2,617 million in 2010. AstraZeneca, the world's seventh largest pharmaceutical firm has steadily built a significant presence in Japan with 3,100 employees, an R&D centre in Osaka and a leadership position in the oncology market.