Amgen reports positive results from analysis of its blood cancer drug

Amgen shares rise on positive results from blood cancer drug trials

Biotech giant Amgen Inc. said a preliminary analysis of its prized blood cancer drug showed patients who took it fared better than those using the standard treatment.

The Thousand Oaks company said that patients with relapsed multiple myeloma who took the Kyprolis drug, along with two other therapies, lived 8.7 months longer without their blood cancer worsening than if they took the standard treatment.

Multiple myeloma is the second-most-common blood cancer, affecting about 70,000 people in the United States, Amgen said.

Amgen gained the coveted blood cancer drug last year when it acquired Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $10.4 billion. The FDA granted an accelerated, preliminary approval for the drug in 2012, while requiring further tests to confirm Kyprolis' benefits.

That fast-tracked approval has allowed multiple myeloma patients to use the drug if they didn't respond to at least two other prior treatments.

Amgen is now seeking full U.S. approval for those uses. The company said the study results may also allow it to expand Kyprolis use beyond those who didn't benefit from other treatments.

Amgen said it expects to submit the drug for regulatory approval worldwide starting in the first half of 2015.

Last week, Amgen announced a restructuring plan that includes up to 2,900 job cuts. The company said the cutbacks would allow it to focus investments on marketing new drugs.

Amgen shares closed up $3.10, or 2.5%, at $128.65.

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