Amgen Announces Sponsorship of World-Class Cycling Event; Company to Join with the Wellness Community to Raise Awareness and Funds to Help People Fight Cancer
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 2, 2005--Amgen
(Nasdaq:AMGN), the world's largest biotechnology company, today
announced its title sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California, an
approximately 700-mile cycling event featuring world-class
professional teams battling it out in some of the most picturesque
locales in the state from February 19 - 26, 2006.
"For 25 years, Amgen has tapped the power of pioneering science
and innovation to fight serious illness and improve people's lives,"
said Kevin Sharer, Amgen's chairman and chief executive officer.
"We're associating our name with this premier cycling event to
underscore the value of a healthy lifestyle, promote medical
breakthroughs made possible through biotechnology and to emphasize the
proper use of our medicines."
Amgen also announced today a Breakaway from Cancer(TM) initiative
-- a complementary component to the race sponsorship. Through the
Breakaway from Cancer effort, Amgen will partner with The Wellness
Community(R) and Discovery Channel(R) professional cycling team member
and 10-time Tour de France veteran George Hincapie to raise awareness
and funds to support valuable services and programs that help cancer
patients and caregivers.
Amgen discovers and develops innovative and vital medicines that
have helped millions of patients fight cancer, kidney disease and
other serious illnesses. Two of these medicines - EPOGEN(R) (Epoetin
alfa) and Aranesp(R) (darbepoetin alfa) - have been used in violation
of certain worldwide and national athletic association regulations by
some athletes in an attempt to enhance their performance. Amgen has
and continues to collaborate closely with the International Olympic
Committee (IOC), World Anti-Doping Agency and other international
groups to help develop effective tests to detect this improper use.
"We worked long and hard to develop these medicines to help
patients fighting serious illness," said Amgen scientific director
Steve Elliott. Elliott is the inventor of Aranesp and has worked
closely with the IOC to develop tests to detect improper use of
Amgen's medicines. "Doping is dangerous and unhealthy. This
sponsorship provides us with an opportunity to combat the
inappropriate use of our vital medicines and to educate athletes, both
amateurs and professionals, of the potential dangers of misusing drugs
of any kind."
EPOGEN, one of the first biologic human therapeutics, is approved
for the treatment of anemia in patients with chronic kidney disease
who are on dialysis. Aranesp is approved for the treatment of anemia
associated with chronic kidney disease and chemotherapy.
SUPPORTING CANCER PATIENTS AND CAREGIVERS
Through the Breakaway from Cancer initiative, Amgen, The Wellness
Community and Hincapie will raise nationwide awareness of The Wellness
Community's free education and support services, provide support
workshops to cancer patients and caregivers, and offer ways for the
public to support The Wellness Community facilities throughout the
"Like so many families, mine has experienced the incredible and
painful challenges of rallying around a loved one fighting cancer,"
said Hincapie, who recently lost a family member to cancer. "And just
as in cycling where it takes a great support team to help an
individual breakaway from the pack, it takes a strong support network
to help a cancer patient face the many hurdles throughout treatment.
I'm proud to partner with Amgen and The Wellness Community on the
Breakaway from Cancer effort."
The Wellness Community is an international non-profit organization
dedicated to providing support, education and hope for all people
affected by cancer with 21 Wellness Communities around the United
States, including six centers serving Californians in the Los Angeles
and the San Francisco areas.
"There are 10 million cancer survivors in the United States today
and more than one million Americans will be diagnosed this year. We're
pleased to be a part of this new education and awareness program
designed to help patients and caregivers learn to live well with a
cancer diagnosis by empowering them with education and hope," said Kim
Thiboldeaux, president and CEO of The Wellness Community. "We're
particularly excited about continuing our partnership with Amgen via
the Breakaway from Cancer initiative."
Thiboldeaux said the Frankly Speaking About Cancer workshops, the
core educational component of the Breakaway from Cancer program, will
focus on helping cancer patients take control of side effects through
medicine, mind and body. More details about the Breakaway from Cancer
campaign will be announced in the weeks ahead including dates for the
initial patient support workshops.
For more information on the Amgen Tour of California, the
Breakaway from Cancer campaign and The Wellness Community visit
About Aranesp(R) (darbepoetin alfa)
Aranesp is a recombinant erythropoietic protein (a protein that
stimulates production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells). Amgen
revolutionized anemia treatment with the development of a recombinant
erythropoietin, epoetin alfa, which is currently marketed in the U.S.
by Amgen as EPOGEN(R) (Epoetin alfa)(1) and by Ortho Biotech Products,
LP, as Procrit(R) (Epoetin alfa)(2). Building on this heritage, Amgen
developed Aranesp, which contains two additional sialic
acid-containing carbohydrate chains than the Epoetin alfa molecule,
resulting in more activity, with the added benefit of less-frequent
Aranesp was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) in September 2001 for the treatment of anemia associated with
chronic renal failure, also known as CKD, for patients on dialysis and
patients not on dialysis. In July 2002, Aranesp was approved by the
FDA for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced anemia in patients with
Aranesp is contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled
hypertension and patients with known hypersensitivity to the active
substance or any of the excipients. Erythropoietic therapies may
increase the risk of thrombotic and other serious events; dose
reductions are recommended if the hemoglobin increase exceeds 1.0 g/dL
in any two-week period. Pure red cell aplasia (PRCA) has been observed
in patients treated with recombinant erythropoietins. Aranesp should
be discontinued in any patient with evidence of PRCA and the patient
evaluated for the presence of antibodies to erythropoietic products.
The most commonly reported side effects in Aranesp trials were
fatigue, edema, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and dyspnea. Aranesp
dosage should be adjusted for each patient to achieve and maintain a
target hemoglobin not to exceed 12 g/dL. Doses must be individualized
to ensure that hemoglobin is maintained at an appropriate level for
About EPOGEN(R) (Epoetin alfa)
EPOGEN (Epoetin alfa) is indicated for the treatment of anemia in
patients with chronic renal failure on dialysis. EPOGEN is
contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
Erythropoietic therapies may increase the risk of seizures, thrombotic
and other serious events. The target hemoglobin should not exceed 12
g/dL. If the hemoglobin increase exceeds 1.0 g/dL in any 2-week
period, dose reductions are recommended. In a study with hemodialysis
patients with clinically evident cardiac disease, where the target Hct
was 43 percent (hb=14 g/dL), an increased incidence of thrombotic
events and mortality was seen. The reason for increased mortality
observed in this study is unknown.
PRCA has been reported in a limited number of patients exposed to
EPOGEN. EPOGEN should be discontinued in any patient with evidence of
PRCA and the patient evaluated for the presence of antibodies to
erythropoietin products. The most commonly reported side effects in
clinical trials were hypertension, headache, arthralgias, and nausea.
Amgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human
therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the
first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe
and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient.
Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping
millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer,
kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses.
With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen
remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve
people's lives. To learn more about our pioneering science and our
vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.
About The Wellness Community and Group Loop
Celebrating its 23rd anniversary in June 2005, The Wellness
Community (TWC) is an international, non-profit organization dedicated
to providing free support and education as well as hope to people
affected by cancer. Through participation in professionally led
support groups, educational workshops, nutrition and exercise
programs, and mind/body classes, people affected by cancer learn vital
skills that enable them to regain control, reduce isolation and
restore hope regardless of the stage of their disease. Today, there
are 21 Wellness Communities across the United States, five in
development, 28 satellites, two centers abroad in Tokyo and Tel Aviv,
and a community online at The Virtual Wellness Community. TWC also
provides online resources for teens with cancer and their parents at
Group Loop. For more information, visit www.thewellnesscommunity.org
EDITOR'S NOTE: An electronic version of this news release may be
accessed via our Web site at www.amgen.com. Journalists and media
representatives may sign up to receive all news releases
electronically at time of announcement by filling out a short form in
the Media section of the Web site.
(1)EPOGEN(R) is a registered trademark of Amgen, Inc.
(2)PROCRIT(R) is a registered trademark of Ortho Biotech Products,
CONTACT: Amgen, Thousand Oaks
Mary Klem, 805-447-4587 (media)
Arvind Sood, 805-447-1060 (investors)
The Wellness Community, Washington, D.C.
Michelle Pollak, 202-255-8563 (media)