Amgen delivers $60M upfront for Array diabetes pact

Shares of Array BioPharma (ARRY) were amped up overnight by the news that Amgen had committed $60 million upfront, research support and a schedule of unspecified milestones in exchange for the worldwide rights to a promising, early-stage Type 2 diabetes therapy.

Amgen's big bet fueled a 27 percent increase in Array's shares in premarket trading. Array's stock has been badly beaten up by investors disheartened by the news several months ago that the developer's lead therapy for rheumatoid arthritis had failed a clinical trial.

Amgen, on the other hand, has been on a roll with a string of upbeat results for its bone drug denosumab. And the biotech clearly has big plans for diabetes. "Type 2 diabetes has long been an important focus of research for Amgen," said the biotech company's research chief, Roger M. Perlmutter, "and the addition of ARRY-403 clearly strengthens our diabetes pipeline."

Under the R&D pact, Boulder, CO-based Array will be responsible for completing the Phase I trial for ARRY-403 while Amgen takes over future clinical development and commercialization for the drug along with any resulting back-up compounds. Array has an option to co-promote in the United States and will receive double digit royalties on sales. In addition, Amgen will fund a number of full-time Array employees as part of a two-year research collaboration intended to identify and advance second-generation glucokinase activators.

- check out Array's release
- here's the Dow Jones story