Amgen Pours A Further $421M Into China’s BeiGene

Amgen (AMGN) has announced an additional investment of approximately $421 million in BeiGene’s (BGNE) registered direct offering of ordinary shares.

This investment maintains Amgen’s current pro rata ownership of Chinese biotech BeiGene at approximately 20.3%. Beigene currently markets two key oncology products: BTK inhibitor zanubrutinib in the United States, and anti-PD-1 antibody tislelizumab in China.

According to Amgen the additional investment “reflects Amgen’s confidence in the progress the companies are making in their ongoing oncology collaboration in China, the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market.”

Shares in Amgen are up 3% year-to-date, and analysts have a cautiously optimistic Moderate Buy consensus on the stock. That’s with a $259 average analyst price target (4% upside potential).

On July 1, JP Morgan’s Cory Kasimov reiterated his hold rating on Amgen after the Federal Circuit affirmed the validity of two patents covering autoimmune treatment Enbrel. “While we acknowledge a prominent headwind is now lifted, today’s favorable outcome is in line with our outlook for Enbrel and thus doesn’t change our estimates” the analyst wrote.

Overall, his focus for the company shifts to three key late-stage pipeline readouts with 1) sotorasib (AMG 510; KRAS) in lung cancer; 2) tezepelumab (TSLP) in asthma; and 3) omecamtiv mecarbil (OM) in HF expected in 2H20, which should provide greater visibility into the mid-to-longer term outlook for the company.

“In spite of potential multiple expansion, we need more visibility on clinical data from each program (and how ‘510 and TSLP stack up to competition) in order to get more constructive on Amgen’s overall top-line outlook” Kasimov concludes. (See AMGN stock analysis on TipRanks).

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