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AMGN On Watch, GALE Reports Positive Data, EBS Secures BARDA Contract

Amgen Inc. (AMGN) on Friday reported positive results from its Repatha cardiovascular outcomes study, dubbed FOURIER. The company’s cholesterol drug Repatha received FDA approval on August 27, 2015.

The FOURIER study evaluated whether treatment with Repatha in combination with statin therapy compared to placebo plus statin therapy reduced cardiovascular events.

The company noted that the FOURIER study has established for the first time that Repatha decreases LDL-C (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol ) to unprecedented low levels and reduces risk of cardiovascular events with no new safety issues.

According to the study results, Repatha significantly reduced risk of hard major adverse cardiovascular events by 20% while risks of heart attack, stroke and coronary revascularization were nominally reduced by 27%, 21% and 22%, respectively.

But despite the encouraging results, the stock fell more than 6% on Friday as investors are not sure if the results are that impressive to reduce the reimbursement barriers that exist for Repatha, which costs over $14,000 a year. However, Amgen thinks otherwise.

Terming the results as a game changer, Sean Harper, executive vice president of Research and Development at Amgen, said, “Even though high-risk patients were optimally treated with the latest therapies, they were still at high risk for an additional cardiac event. It’s remarkable to see such a large impact in reducing cardiac events given that this patient population was only on Repatha for about two years”.

Originally touted as a blockbuster, sales of Repatha have been anemic since its launch. The global sales of the drug have been just $141 million in 2016.

AMGN closed Friday’s trading at $168.61, down 6.38%.

Atara Biotherapeutics Inc. (ATRA) expects initial data from its phase I trial of autologous version of ATA188 in patients with primary and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis to be presented by its collaborating investigators at a medical conference in late April.


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