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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: PHARMACEUTICALS

2 Studies Find Amgen Cancer Drug Promising

May 04, 1999| Bloomberg News

Amgen Inc.'s experimental prostate cancer drug lowers levels of testosterone more quickly than drugs from competitors of the world's biggest biotechnology company, a new study shows. Researchers from closely held Praecis Pharmaceuticals Inc., which licensed the drug abarelix to Thousand Oaks-based Amgen in March, found that patients taking it had an immediate and sustained decrease in testosterone, which can worsen the cancer. Those getting Zeneca's Zoladex and Lupron from TAP Pharmaceuticals Inc. had a significant increase that lasted two to four weeks, the researchers said. TAP is the joint venture of Abbott Laboratories and Takeda Chemical Industries. Abarelix "may be an important alternative to both medical and surgical methods" of treating prostate cancer, they concluded. A second study found that abarelix more rapidly reduced levels of prostate-specific antigen, a protein made by the prostate gland and linked to the disease. The studies were presented by Dr. Marc Garnick, chief medical and regulatory officer of Praecis, at the American Urology Assn. meeting in Dallas. Amgen's shares fell 50 cents to close at $60.94 on Nasdaq.

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