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Amgen, Astellas agree to Japan market partnership

The Associated Press

Biotech drug developer Amgen Inc. will partner with Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma Inc. to sell several potential Amgen treatments in Japan.

The companies said Wednesday the collaboration will focus on developing and selling five drugs in Amgen's pipeline. They include potential treatments for cardiovascular and bone disease and cancer. The drugs range from early to late stages of clinical development, and the first launch is expected by 2016.

The agreement also includes developing a joint venture between the companies that will help Amgen build its presence in Japan.

Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, Calif., focuses on developing powerful biologic medicines — drugs produced by living cells rather than by mixing chemicals — for cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, bone disease and other serious illnesses. Among its products are the anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen, Enbrel for immune disorders and Prolia for osteoporosis.

No financial terms for the partnership were disclosed in a statement from the companies.

Shares of Amgen fell 75 cents to $105.45 Wednesday before markets opened and after the companies announced the deal.