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Amgen (AMGN - Analyst Report) recently entered into an agreement with Servier, a privately-run French research-based pharmaceutical company.

The collaboration, which focuses on cardiovascular diseases, will see Amgen making an upfront payment of $50 million. Amgen gained US commercial rights to Servier’s ivabradine, a novel oral drug. Ivabradine is currently approved in the EU under the trade name, Procoralan, for chronic heart failure and stable angina in patients with elevated heart rates. It is approved in more than 100 other countries apart from the US.

Amgen also has an exclusive option for the US development and commercialization of another cardiovascular disease candidate in Servier’s pipeline, S38844. S38844 is currently in phase II studies for the treatment of heart failure.

Meanwhile, Servier gained European commercialization rights to omecamtiv mecarbil, which is being developed by Amgen in collaboration with Cytokinetics, Incorporated (CYTK - Snapshot Report). Omecamtiv mecarbil, which is being evaluated for the treatment of heart failure, is currently in a phase II study in patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction, who are hospitalized with acute heart failure.

Amgen and Servier can exercise their options for S38844 and omecamtiv mecarbil, respectively, up to the completion of phase II studies.

Financial details regarding the S38844 and omecamtiv mecarbil part of the deal were not disclosed. As far as ivabradine is concerned, Servier will be entitled to milestone and royalty payments in addition to the above-mentioned $50 million upfront payment.

With the Servier deal, Amgen is looking to strengthen its cardiovascular pipeline. Amgen has been signing several deals this year. These include the expansion of the company’s collaboration with Cytokinetics and the signing of agreements with Astellas (ALPMY) and Zhejiang Beta Pharma Co., Ltd. for Japan and China, respectively. Amgen was also in the news related to its offer to acquire Onyx Pharmaceuticals . Amgen currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

At present, Cytokinetics looks well-positioned with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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