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Amgen's Repatha Results Not Good Enough For The Street

Amgen's Repatha Results Not Good Enough For The Street

Shares of Amgen, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMGN) fell 7 percent after the biotechnology company released data from its therapy called Repatha, which is used to lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart problems.

Amgen reported Repatha reduces the risk of heart attacks, stokes and other heart-related health problems. However, investors weren't enthusiastic as the company's report said "there were no notable differences seen between treatment arms in the overall rate of adverse events, serious adverse events or adverse events leading to study drug discontinuation."

TheStreet's Adam Feuerstein commented that Repatha's success in reducing the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart-related health problems by 15 percent versus a placebo is actually short of the 20 to 22 percent investors were hoping for.

As such, the drug's true performance in a study involving tens of thousands of patients could be viewed as a "disappointment from the market's perspective."

Feuerstein said the $14,000 per year (before discounts) price tag of Repatha will now be called into question.

"These Repatha results are disappointing," Feuerstein quoted Dr. Ethan Weiss, a cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at the Cardiovascular Research Institute as saying. "A 15% relative reduction in risk for the primary endpoint is much lower than predicted based on prior trials. The top line here is that for this population, it is going to be hard to justify the cost of these [PCSK9] medicines for the magnitude of the risk reduction."

Wall Street's Early Reaction

Some Wall Street analysts also offered their take which doesn't bode well for Amgen's prospect.

Salim Syed, a biotech analyst at Mizuho Securities, told Feuerstein ahead of Thursday's results that insurance companies will need to see risk reductions of at least 20 percent but "maybe more like 25 percent."

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