Amgen’s Aranesp for Anemia Fails to Help Heart Patients

Amgen Inc. (AMGN)’s anemia drug Aranesp didn’t keep heart failure patients alive longer or out of the hospital, according to the results of a large study that found no new safety issues with the drug.

The trial, begun in 2006, followed 2,278 heart failure patients who also had anemia and received either Aranesp or a placebo. The study didn’t meet its main goal of slowing time to death or hospital admission for worsening heart failure, Thousand Oaks, California-based Amgen said today in a statement.

There were “no new safety findings identified in the study,” Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, said in the statement. Full results from the study will be presented at a future medical meeting, the company said.

Aranesp is approved for treating anemia in kidney disease patients and some cancer patients. It is part of a class of red blood cell stimulating drugs that can increase the risk of death, heart attack, stroke, or tumor progression or recurrence in cancer patients, according to a boxed warning on the drug’s label. The warning about heart risk was added in 2007, Ashleigh Koss, an Amgen spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Sales of the drug were $2.3 billion in 2011 after reaching $4.1 billion in 2006.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Langreth in New York at rlangreth@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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