Amgen eyes deals in global expansion

Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) has about $20 billion on hand to finance new deals. But while the U.S. and Europe are the biggest markets, CEO Kevin Sharer says his company will be looking for deals in emerging markets due to the greater potential for growth there. "We seek good companies at a fair price. We are looking for quality. If we find the right company, we could be quite aggressive. Now is a good time. We would not hesitate if we thought we had the right opportunity," the CEO tells the Financial Times.

Sharer's comments follow Friday's approval of osteoporosis drug denosumab in Europe. The biologics developer will work with GlaxoSmithKline to market the drug in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, but retains exclusive rights to market the drug in other countries. Amgen has long focused on expensive specialty care drugs, but with denosumab moves into the primary care market.

A number of companies are already aggressively marketing their osteoporosis treatments in emerging markets. Amgen will compete with Sanofi-Aventis and Novartis, which have both offered healthcare systems deals on their drugs. Sharer wouldn't say how Amgen intends to compete with bisphosphonates that cost about $40 a year, as compared with $540 for denosumab. But he said his company tries "to be socially responsible in the way we price and ensure value is delivered to the payer. We will certainly be fully competitive in the market...and creative."

- here's the Financial Times report