As it turns out, the Onyx deal isn’t the biggest merger Amgen has made. The company also acquired Immunex back in December of 2001 — before mega-deals were en vogue — for a whopping $15.9 billion. The deal gave Amgen control of the rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel.
At the time, Enbrel was the fastest-growing ‘biologic’ … a relatively young class of drug at the time. Amgen’s then-CEO, Kevin Sharer, opined the drug could eventually produce sales of $3 billion, and maybe even more.
But every biotech company must face the same question: Will the drug come anywhere close to producing those results? In this case, the answer was a resounding yes. Between Amgen and selling partner Pfizer (PFE), Enbrel‘s sales exceeded $8 billion in 2012.