Company news: Amgen

The FDA's Oncologic Drug Advisory Committee voted 12-1 against approving Amgen's bone-cancer drug, Xgeva, as a preventative measure for men with castration resistant prostate cancer, reported the Associated Press. Amgen was lobbying for the denosumab drug to be used to keep cancer from penetrating bone, while studies showed it delayed the onset. The panel's objections to expanded use were cited in the brief it released two days ago, and included questioning the preventative value of a drug that delays cancer from spreading instead of stopping it. Xgeva is a high dose of the denosumab injection, which Amgen also markets in a lower dose as skeleton-building drug Prolia. The FDA is not bound by the panel's decision and can still support an expanded use of the drug. The lone “yes” vote was from a patient advocate, the 12 “nos” from the physicians, reported the Associated Press.

January's high layoff rate wasn't the only corporate shakeup that kicked off the new year. A report from outsourcing firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas showed the C-Suite was also shuffling chairs. The report said 123 CEOs left their posts in January, 28% more than exited in January 2010. Healthcare had the highest number of turnovers, with 25 CEO exits. The industry had the highest number of turnovers in all of 2011, with about 16 of its top executives leaving every month. The pharmaceutical industry ranked fifth, coming after the financial, government/non-profit and computer industries, with nine CEO departures, compared with four in January 2011. The top three reasons for leaving were resignation, retirement and stepping down.