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The NY Times is reporting that Amgen has inked a deal with with much smaller biopharma R&D firm Cytokinetics (chart pictured) giving it an option on an experimental new heart failure drug.cytk The deal, which is expected to be officially announced this morning, is valued at $75 million however, Cytokinetics could ultimately receive additional payments of more than $600 million, plus royalties, if the drug makes it to market and records significant sales. The drug, which is about to enter phase II clinical testing, currently goes by the name CK-1827452, and serves to activate a protein in the body which plays a central role in making heart muscles contract to pump blood. Heart failure affects 5 million Americans per year.

• Sources: NY Times
• Related commentary: Searching for Value Investments in the Drug Stock Universe, Amgen's Buyout of Abgenix Pays Off, Smart Biotech Investing: Avoiding One-Product Wonders (NSTK, GILD, AMGN, DNA; ETF: IBB). Conference call transcripts: Amgen Q3 2006 Earnings Call Transcript
• Potentially impacted stocks and ETFs: Amgen (AMGN), Cytokinetics (CYTK). Competitors: Sanofi-Aventis (SNY), Genentech (DNA), Novo Nordisk (NVO), Gilead Sciences (GILD). ETFs: Biotech HOLDRS (BBH), First Tr Amex Biotech Index Fd (FBT), Vanguard Health Care (VHT)

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Source: Amgen Acquires Option On Experimental Cytokinetics Heart Drug