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Can Amgen Find a New Engine?

Executive Summary

Amgen's string of misfortunes has highlighted the group's need to find an alternative growth engine--one which will, necessarily, look very different from the current anemia franchise. The biotech is leaning too heavily on osteoporosis and cancer candidate denosumab.

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Actelion has become Europe's most successful R&D-based biotech largely on the success of Tracleer for PAH, a specialist indication. Now, facing competition in PAH, but in line with its strategy of following innovation wherever it leads, the company's starting to build a primary care-focused commercial operation to support GP-targeted pipeline assets. That takes Actelion into a very new game, and risks destroying the laissez-faire culture seen as crucial to its unusually high R&D productivity. But Actelion reckons a well-planned, step-wise, and nimble approach to primary care marketing will allow it to retain both the maximum value from its drugs, and its biotech-ness.

Actelion Follows Innovation into GP Markets

Actelion has become Europe's most successful R&D-based biotech largely on the success of Tracleer for PAH, a specialist indication. Now, facing competition in PAH, but in line with its strategy of following innovation wherever it leads, the company's starting to build a primary care-focused commercial operation to support GP-targeted pipeline assets. That takes Actelion into a very new game, and risks destroying the laissez-faire culture seen as crucial to its unusually high R&D productivity. But Actelion reckons a well-planned, step-wise, and nimble approach to primary care marketing will allow it to retain both the maximum value from its drugs, and its biotech-ness.

Amgen's D-mab: The New EPO

D-mab is the new EPO. At least, that's what Amgen is hoping as it awaits FDA approval for its next growth engine, denosumab (D-mab). Assuming the drug gets to market--and Amgen is very confident it will--the drug's success will depend largely on pricing.

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