Amgen's potential lupus treatment licensed by Anthera

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. Anthera Pharmaceuticals announced that it has licensed the rights from Amgen to develop and sell a potential lupus treatment, according to published reports.

The compound, AMG 623, is a peptide fusion protein that has been through early-stage clinical tests in lupus patients. Anthera, led by chief executive officer and president Paul Truex, hopes to start Phase 2 testing of the drug in 2008, as it may also be effective on other autoimmune diseases.

Anthera has also bought drug candidates from Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly  and Japan's Shionogi. Details of the Amgen deal were not disclosed.

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