Amgen Selling Cancer Drug to Make Way for Merger

The company seeks to sell Leukine, marketed by Immunex, because it works similarly to Neupogen.
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(AMGN) - Get Report

is seeking a buyer for the cancer drug Leukine as part of its $16 billion merger with




When the merger was announced in December, Amgen executives said a sale of Leukine, which is marketed by Immunex, was likely in order to gain approval of the deal from the Federal Trade Commission. The decision to seek a buyer for Leukine was announced to employees of both companies on Thursday. The email was included in a filing to the

Securities and Exchange Commission


Leukine works in much the same way as Amgen's drug Neupogen, and this was likely to raise antitrust concerns with FTC officials unless it was sold off.

Leukine sales totaled $108.4 million in 2001, up 23% from 2000.

Amgen and Immunex are expected to close their merger in the second half of the year. Amgen shares were up 28 cents, to $55.32, in Thursday trading; Immunex shares were up 19 cents to $27.87.