Amgen Inc. shares hit a four-year high Wednesday after the biotech said its experimental osteoporosis drug denosumab not only met a key goal of preventing bone injuries in breast-cancer patients but also performed better than a competing drug.

Denosumab did a better job in the clinical study than Novartis AG's Zometa in delaying fractures and other complications in breast cancer patients whose illness had spread to their bones, the Thousand Oaks company said.

Amgen is seeking permission to sell the drug to both cancer patients and postmenopausal women who are susceptible to bone loss. A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel meeting to review the application is set for Aug. 13. The FDA scheduled to make a decision by October.

Denosumab is a genetically engineered antibody that block a certain protein that would normally lead to the breakdown of bones.

Amgen shares closed up $7.27, or 14 percent, to $59.50 on the Nasdaq.

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