said Thursday that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the drug Enbrel for symptoms of ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease affecting joints and ligaments.
"The approval of Enbrel for the treatment of AS is truly exciting, offering many patients significant relief of symptoms such as back pain, morning stiffness and fatigue as rapidly as two weeks after initiation of therapy," said the vice president of Amgen's inflammation business, Kevin Young. "Also, for the first time, we see improvement in spinal mobility, which is a debilitating symptom of the disease."
AS, which affects around 350,000 people in the U.S., is a painful, and potentially progressive disease that affects the joints and ligaments that normally allow a person's back to move and flex. The disease most often occurs in the lower back, but can affect the upper spine, chest and neck. The spine can fuse, causing loss of motion and a permanent stooped-over posture.
Shares of Amgen were down 36 cents, or 0.5%, at $67.94 at midday Friday. Shares of Wyeth were down 66 cents, or 1.4%, at $46.56.
Amgen and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of
, market Enbrel in North America. Wyeth markets Enbrel outside of North America.
, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen, manufactures Enbrel.