Amgen calls Roche 'snake-oil salesman'

No way, Roche. Amgen rejected a royalty offer from the Swiss drugmaker, which wants to sell an anemia drug that would compete against Amgen's signature blockbusters. Mircera, Roche's version, was approved by the FDA in November, but a jury ruled that the drug would infringe on Amgen's patents. Despite a juicy royalty offer of some 20 percent--twice that paid by Johnson & Johnson for its Procrit med--Amgen is holding fast.

In fact, according to court documents, the California company is scrapping for the fight. After likening Roche to a "snake-oil salesman," Amgen says in court documents, "The only thing more astonishing than Roche's false assertions of its public interests is it chutzpah now in proposing that the Court order a license at a royalty rate of 20 percent."

Amgen calls that figure "grossly inadequate"--language that should be familiar to Roche, which heard the same about its first offer to buy Ventana. Only after sweetening that deal did Ventana give its OK to the sale. And as of yesterday, it was a done deal.

- see the story in Forbes
- check out the snake oil item at the WSJ Health Blog
- read Roche's press release on the Ventana merger