Amgen’s $300 million purchase of Dutch biotech gives the company the potential to offer more varied treatment options to lower cholesterol

The US biopharmaceutical firm Amgen is enlarging its cardiovascular treatment portfolio through a $300 million (£191 million) acquisition of the Netherlands-based biotechnology company Dezima Pharma. Dezima’s lead molecule is the cholesterol-lowering drug TA-8995.

Amgen already has a significant cardiovascular drug portfolio, including Repatha (evolocumab), which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in August in combination with statin therapy for relatively limited patient populations, such as adults with a family history elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. In July, the European commission granted marketing authorisation for Repatha for adults with primary hypercholesterolaemia or mixed dyslipidemia, as an adjunct to diet in combination with a statin or with other lipid-lowering therapies in patients unable to reach LDL cholesterol targets taking statins. 

Sean Harper, Amgen’s executive vice president of research and development, said TA-8995 has demonstrated ‘dramatic LDL-C lowering’. With a portfolio of TA-8995 and Repatha, he suggested that Amgen will be able to offer more treatment options with different mechanisms of action and modes of administration across varying LDL-C levels and risk profiles.