Most Innovative Companies
Amgen (often stylized as AMGen) is an American biopharmaceutical company and the world's largest independent biotech firm. Amgen, which was formerly Applied Molecular Genetics Inc., is known for creating a cancer drug out of a genetically modified virus that treats recurring melanoma without inflicting patients with nasty side effects normally associated with traditional chemotherapy and radiation. The drug employs Imlygic--a modified version of the herpes simplex virus type 1 designed to replicate within tumors and produce a protein that causes cell death to rupture tumors. In 2015, Imlygic got the FDA's approval, the first virus-based cancer treatment to do so. Now Amgen is bringing the drug to market to treat difficult skin melanomas. In trials, 16% of patients saw their tumors shrink in response to Imlygic alone, compared to 2% with other immune-boosting drugs. Studies in which the virus is used in combination with immune boosters show even more promising results. But even with FDA approval, the window for melanoma treatment is small: The cancer can't be too early in development or too far advanced. And Imlygic therapy is expensive: $65,000 for a single round. But the approval could speed acceptance and adoption for the many other cancer-fighting viruses already in development.
valuation: $116 billion
public or private: Public
headquarters: Thousand Oaks, CA