Los Angeles Business Journal

Amgen’s Bone Drug Approved for Additional Uses

By Deborah Crowe Monday, September 19, 2011

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two more uses for Amgen’s osteoporosis drug Prolia for cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy, raising the revenue the drug is expected to produce over the next several years.

The Thousand Oaks biotech on Monday said Prolia can now be used by breast cancer patients and by patients whose prostate cancer that has not yet spread. Chemotherapy can weaken bone mass and increase the risk of fractures. Prolia, the trade name for the drug denosumab, works by blocking a protein that activates bone-destroying cells.

Prolia was approved in 2010 to treat osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and was later expanded to include patients whose cancer had spread beyond the initial organ.

Analysts on average believe sales of the drug may reach $1.17 billion by 2014.

"Prolia now gives us the ability to reduce the risk of bone loss and fractures, allowing patients to continue their treatment and their fight against cancer," said Dr. Matthew Smith, director of the Genitourinary Malignancies Program at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston, in Amgen’s announcement.

Amgen shares were down 56 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $56.15 in midday trading, on the Nasdaq.