Los Angeles Business Journal

Amgen Lung-Cancer Drug Goes to Trial

By Business Journal Staff Monday, June 16, 2014

Amgen Inc. announced on Monday it is joining a high-level research partnership that will test its experimental cancer drug rilotumumab on lung-cancer patients.

The Thousand Oaks biotech said it will collaborate with the National Cancer Institute and other partners on the Lung Master Protocol, a new clinical trial program that will use biomarkers and gene profiling to match lung-cancer patients with investigational treatments.

Five investigational drugs have been selected for the first clinical trial, including Amgen’s rilotumumab. The drug uses antibodies to target squamous cell carcinomas, which make up more than a quarter of all lung cancers. Under the program, between 500 and 1,000 cancer patients will be screened every year for cancer-related genes, and their treatment will be based on the findings.

Partners in the program include the National Cancer Institute, several cancer research organizations and three other pharmaceutical companies: Genentech Inc. in South San Francisco, Pfizer Inc. in New York and AstraZeneca plc in London.

“This latest collaboration can significantly speed our understanding of targeted approaches for this complex and underserved form of lung cancer, while demonstrating how genomic testing can drive the evolution of clinical trial design,” Dr. Sean Harper, executive vice president of research and development at Amgen, said in a statement.

Shares of Amgen closed up 13 cents or less than 1 percent to $116.16 in trading on the Nasdaq.