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Affymax Rises on Deal With Fresenius for Kidney Therapy

Affymax Inc. rose the most in seven months after the biotechnology company and partner Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. agreed to supply their anemia drug Omontys to Fresenius Medical Care AG for use in dialysis patients.

Affymax gained 19 percent to $14.24 at the close in New York, the biggest increase since Dec. 8, the day after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended approval of Omontys. The company’s shares have gained 97 percent in the past 12 months.

Fresenius, based in Bad Homburg, Germany, will buy the drug that boosts red blood cell production for more than 100 of its U.S. dialysis centers in the next few weeks while it considers broader use, Palo Alto, California-based Affymax and Osaka, Japan-based Takeda said today in a statement. The deal lasts through April 2013 and will give Fresenius discounts and rebates. Additional financial details weren’t provided.

The 100 centers represent about 5 percent of Fresenius’ facilities in the U.S., an opportunity that may be worth $700 million in peak sales of Omontys, Ian Somaiya, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in New York, wrote in a note to clients. The medicine is injected once a month, compared with three times a week for Amgen Inc.’s Epogen and every other week for the first six months with Roche Holding AG’s Mircera.

“We believe the companies may opt to sign a new longer-term deal following the trial period,” perhaps by the end of the year, Somaiya wrote. “We believe that once Fresenius makes the switch to Omontys, physicians, patients and support staff are unlikely to want to switch back” to the more frequently given medications, he said.

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