Amgen Inc. and Kirin Brewery Co. Ltd. announced Monday thatthey have agreed to co-promote recombinant humanerythropoietin (rEPO) and recombinant human granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (rG-CSF) in the People's Republic ofChina (PRC).

The marketing will be done through the companies' whollyowned subsidiaries, Amgen Greater China Ltd. and KirinPharmaceuticals (China) Ltd. The partners will co-promote asingle line of rEPO products, manufactured by Amgen ofThousand Oaks, Calif., and sold under the trade name Epogen, inthe PRC. As well, they will sell a single line of rG-CSF productsmanufactured by Kirin and sold as Gran in the PRC.

The relationship between Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) and Kirinstems from 1984, when the two companies entered into a jointventure to develop and market rEPO. They expanded thatagreement in 1986 to include rG-CSF. But the sales andmarketing territories did not include the PRC.

Amgen Greater China Ltd. is currently based in Hong Kong butexpects to have offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou bythe end of this year, said Kimberly Dorsey, Amgen's manager ofcorporate communications.

"We all feel that the (marketing) opportunities are improving(in China), but they're still very small," said Dennis McConnell,president of Amgen Greater China Ltd. For instance, probablyfewer than 15,000 to 20,000 of the estimated 500,000 to600,000 patients with chronic renal failure are currently beingtreated yearly in the PRC.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

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