The FDA couldn't have scheduled today's meeting on the risks posed by Amgen's anemia drugs at a worse time. With the market opening to a new raft of chilly economic reports, analysts covering Amgen were in a particularly dour mood about Amgen's chances. Christopher Raymond at Robert W. Baird predicted more restrictions on the use of its multibillion-dollar drugs, which would further eat into the biotech company's revenue. And FBR Capital's Jim Reddoch wouldn't even rule out a vote to remove Aranesp from the market--a worst-case scenario that would inflict major damage at a company that has been working to build up a pipeline of new therapies needed to rescue its bottom line.
Amgen officials, though, will fight this battle over the $6 billion market to the bitter finish.
"ESAs provide an unequivocal treatment benefit for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy by reducing the need for blood transfusions," said Roger M. Perlmutter, Amgen's executive vice president of research and development.
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