In an effort to commercialize its colorectal cancer therapy Vectibix in China, biotech Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) will form a joint venture with Zhejiang Beta Pharma to capitalize on its strong expertise in the development and commercialization of molecularly targeted therapies as well as its oncology sales network in China, the company announced this week.

The new joint venture will be named Amgen-Beta Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. with Zhejiang Beta Pharma owning 51% and Amgen owning the remaining 49% interest.

"This joint venture brings us one step closer to providing Chinese patients with Amgen's medicines and supports our strategy of expanding in key, fast-growing markets," said Amgen Executive VP Anthony C. Hooper.

Zhejiang Beta Pharma Chairman Lieming Ding was quoted as saying "Amgen is a pioneer and a global leader in the biotech industry. Our partnership with Amgen will be of long-term strategic significance not only for Zhejiang Province, but also for the whole medical community in China."

The joint venture is subject to closing conditions, including the approval of government authorities in China. Amgen had U.S. sales of Vectibix of $27 million last quarter, down 13%, while sales elsewhere in the world were up 2% at $60 million.

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