Bull Of The Day: Amgen (AMGN)

Amgen (AMGN - Free Reportis literally one of the world’s biotech pioneers. Founded in California in 1980 and going public three years later, the company – formerly known as American Molecular Genetics – has been on the cutting edge of genetic therapeutics, molecular biology and biochemistry for almost 40 years.

Following the 2009 acquisition of Genentech – an early competitor in recombinant DNA technology – by Roche, Amgen became the world’s largest stand-alone biotechnology research and development company.

Amgen’s first blockbuster product was synthetic human erythropoietin that had been produced in cell culture using non-human animal eggs. The technique was lauded as brilliantly creative at the time - as well as covered by extensive patent protection. Epogen was approved by the FDA in 1989 for the treatment of chronic anemia as a result of kidney disease, and approvals for use in cancer, HIV and other critical ill patients soon followed. By 2002 it was the single-most paid-for pharmaceutical by Medicare with reimbursements of over $2 billion annually.

Neupogen is still marketed by Amgen and also sold under the brand named “Procrit” through a licensing agreement with Johnson and Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) .

In fact, Erythropoietin is so effective at helping the human body produce red blood cells under stressful conditions that Epogen was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s “banned” list and was the subject of many failed drug tests by healthy endurance athletes who had obtained it illegally and used it as a performance-enhancing drug.

Amgen continued to use unique and creative techniques for developing precisely targeted therapeutic biologicals based on naturally occurring human compounds for a wide range of afflictions, including kidney failure, osteoporosis, migraines, auto-immune disorders and many more serious illnesses.

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