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Amgen: Pioneers in Cancer Treatment


Chemotherapy is unpleasant and reduces the body's ability to deal with an infection, which can worsen the health condition.

Lower leucocyte count also leads to severe infections such as sepsis, which is one of the biggest problems for cancer patients.

An old proverb says: if you can lower the risk of cancer patients getting sepsis, the world won’t forget to beat a pathway to your door.

George Rathmann didn’t search for that path, but he wanted to help hundreds of thousands of people in the process when he co-founded Amgen Inc.

Launched in Thousand Oaks, California, in 1980, Applied Molecular Genetics (Amgen) is a multinational biopharmaceutical company specializing in therapeutics.

Amgen delivers powerful drugs for treating colorectal cancer and osteoporosis and reducing the number of leucocytes and is one of the best in the industry. If you want to learn about the American giant Amgen, its goals, and its ups and down, scroll down and keep reading!

A Brother Like No Other

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1927, George Rathmann had a predisposition to become an entrepreneur. Edna Blatz, his mother, was from the big family that owned the Valentin Blatz Brewing Company. Louis, his father, was a hard-working man who had a job in several local businesses.

Gorge was curious about science, and he had a good science teacher to help him as well. Maybe Gorge wouldn’t have been so successful if his older brother, who was a chemist, hadn’t inspired him additionally.

As a young boy, Geroge initially planned to join a medical school, but thanks to his brother, he changed his mind and attended physical chemistry at Northwestern University. He gained a B.S. degree in physical chemistry in 3 years, and then in 1951, he got a Ph.D. at Princeton.

As soon as George finished his education, he became a research chemist in 3M, where he stayed for 21 years until he rose to a corporate manager. In 1975, George joined Abbott Laboratories, where he became interested in recombinant DNA as well as other aspects of biotechnology.

It Is All Written In the DNA

Becoming a DNA guru, George felt ready to take the next step, and in 1980, he became co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Amgen. During the first 3 years, George and his team of scientists tried many revolutionary DNA-related scientific things and soon woke up on the cover of a high-status Science magazine.

Amgen was a new company whose aim was to treat and cure disease, and they became prevalent in 1983 thanks to their hard work and innovative approach. The same year Amgen raised $40 million and used that money on research, clinical testing, and product development.

A few months later, Amgen presented its first groundbreaking achievement supporting EPOGEN's creation as one of the most effective drugs in biotech history.

George was delighted with the team of scientists he worked with in Amgen, and in 1985, they launched their second epic drug, NEUPOGEN. In 1988, George announced that he was ready to retire, and Gordon Binder became CEO of Amgen and started new and promising years for Amgen.

In 1989, Amgen went international and established its European Headquarters in Switzerland. First, they found one in Lucerne and later relocated it to Zug, Switzerland. Over the next couple of years, Amgen opened offices all over Europe and named its office in Breda Netherland, the primary manufacturing center.

The following years were pretty productive for Gordon and Amgen’s team as they received a green flag for Epogen, Neurogen, and Enbrel, which soon became their best products.

Amgen Competitors as Great Driving Force

When the new millennium began, Amgen got a new CEO, Kevin W. Sharer, and many competitors were ready to offer as effective drugs as Amgen. Even though Amgen was the leader in the biopharmaceutical industry, Kevin was proud that they had powerful competitors, including Celgene, Genzyme, MedImmune, Genentech, and Merck.

Kevin, who holds an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh, did comprehensive research and clinical trials, and in 2010, Amgen got FDA approval for Prolia and Xgeva. Thanks to these drugs for postmenopausal osteoporosis treatment and for treating bone metastases complications, Amgen delivered hope for prostate and breast cancer patients.

In 2012, Amgen's name was related to some illegal marketing practices, but the team behind Amgen didn’t bend. They kept standing strong and agreed to spend $612 million on resolving 11 related whistleblower complaints and to pay $150 million in a criminal penalty. Federal prosecutors blamed Amgen for pursuing profits and risking patients when marketing Aranesp for symptoms that the FDA didn’t approve.

New Energy — New Luck

The same year, Robert A. Bradway, a successful American businessman who joined Amgen in 2006, became the company's CEO. Robert, who has an MBA from the prestigious Harvard University, injected fresh energy into Amgen, and in 2013, things got better.

Soon, new drugs, including Aimovig, Blincyto, Kineret, Enbrel, Kyprolis, Neulasta, Nplate, Parsabiv, Repatha, Sensipar/Mimpara, and Vectibix, were born in Amgen.

While the world was preparing to face Covid-19, at the beginning of 2020, Robert announced a strategic collaboration between Amgen and BeiGene. Amgen expanded its oncology presence in China. At the same time, Amgen Foundation, together with Harvard, announced the global launch of a virtual science education platform called LabXchange™.

Today, Amgen is a 42-year-old company whose goal is to help patients with serious illnesses. Amgen continues to leave a mark on the world by producing drugs for osteoporosis, inflammation, migraine, cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, and other illnesses.

It started in America but spread to over 100 countries worldwide, offering a job for 23,000 people and cures for millions of patients. This independent biotech company changed medicine globally and stands still here, more robust than ever before, rated super high for its significant revenue.

Amgen IPO

Amgen went live on Jun 24, 1983; its stock symbol is NASDAQ: AMGN, and it attracts investors with a price range between $200 and $250.

So far, the company has made 13 successful investments. Their first most significant investments were Series E from 2017, which raised them $30M in January and $58M in October.

The lead investor was Immatics biotechnologies in both rounds. The venture round-Oxford Nanopore Technologies in 2018 was also fruitful and raised $50M, but the Post IPO Equity-BeiGene from 2019 broke records and raised $2.7 billion.

The most recent investments were huge as well. Series A-SomaLogic from 2020 brought them $81M, and the last 2 rounds by Jasper Therapeutics and Neumora Therapeutics raised $100M each. So far, the giant Amgen Company has acquired 24 organizations, and the most recent one was TeneoBio in 2021, which they received for $2.5B.

Amgen reported revenue of $26 billion in 2021, which will keep growing in the future, although the competition from biosimilar treatments is increasing.

Amgen Future Plans

Amgen has a strategy to remain focused on providing innovative medicines which will make a tremendous difference for people suffering from various diseases worldwide.

To meet their goal and save as many people as possible, Amgen plans to use medicines that are discovered internally, or they may also use drugs sourced externally.

Robert plans to increase the percentage of drug sales outside the U.S. Moreover, Amgen's product portfolio will also enlarge with high-quality medicines, which can save money for the healthcare system and free up extra funds for innovative treatments.

Amgen has all the pieces in the right place to succeed, so its job is to execute!