Biotech giant Amgen Inc. Monday won approval to sell the new anemia medication Aranesp in the European Union for patients suffering from chronic kidney failure.
The Thousand Oaks-based company plans to begin marketing the drug immediately in Germany, Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal and the Netherlands, said spokesman Jeff Richardson. Amgen expects U.S. approval of Aranesp by the end of this month, Richardson said.
The company developed the drug as a successor to its top-selling Epogen, which had revenue of nearly $2 billion last year. Aranesp requires injections only once a week or every two weeks, instead of three times a week required for Epogen, the company said.
"It's the next big thing for Amgen," said Michael King, an analyst with Robertson Stephens.
Aranesp's approval for patients with kidney failure is a first step toward the drug's acceptance for other types of anemia, including those related to cancer and chemotherapy, King said.