Amgen Tests New Vaccine for Osteoporosis

Amgen the company that released the osteoporosis drug Prolia and Xgeva for cancer related bone fractures has a new vaccine in the works for osteoporosis.   The company just released news that they are in the testing phase for a new drug, which they are designating a vaccine for osteoporosis with a projected date of release for 2015 or earlier.   The current name of this drug is AMG785 and it is being studied in conjunction with the Belgium-based UCB.   Of course this study will have to go through several phases of testing and then try for FDA approval, which is time consuming.   However, Amgen claims they are at the "third and final stage of testing."

What is AMG785?

AMG785 is a vaccine that is given every three months, and unlike Prolia, Amgen says this vaccine has bone growth capabilities which are different than their other two drugs that slow bone loss.   Eli Lily's Forteo, the only other osteoporosis drug that currently boosts bone growth, is a daily injection for a treatment limit of two years for severe osteoporosis.

Amgen studied a group of 400 postmenopausal women with this sclerostin-antibody drug, and the drug met its goal of increasing bone mineral density (BMD).   The drug also out-performed the placebo arm and two comparison drugs in twelve months.   Amgen is saving the results from these trials for a medical meeting.   "The rate of side effects was "generally balanced" between those patients on the new drug and those in the control groups," Amgen said." [1]

"Despite available osteoporosis therapies, there remains a significant need for additional treatment options that form new bone in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis," said Roger Perlmutter, Amgen's Executive Vice President of R&D, in a statement. [1]

We definitely need new modalities that stimulate bone growth, so this new vaccine could be a boon for Amgen, and another option for those with osteoporosis that need to restore bone growth, similar to what we could produce at a much younger age.

Since many of us have problems with side effects from the currently available osteoporosis drugs, we hope this new vaccine will afford benefits the other Amgen drugs don't and with minimal side effects.

Because compliance is also a big issue with these drugs, this vaccine hopes to eliminate that problem since it's not a daily, weekly or monthly treatment with many postural restrictions, and hopefully it won't have the gastrointestinal problems and esophagus issues seen with many of the other treatments available on the market today.

No news has been released on the possible side effects yet, so we'll have to wait and see what the study provides in this area.


  1. Amgen Passes Key Trial with "Son of Dmab" For Osteoporosis.   Luke Tinkerman April 21, 2011.   retrieved: April 27, 2011