Thousand Oaks’s Amgen Inc. will partner with New Jersey-based Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop and sell several cancer fighting biosimilar medicines, Amgen said on Dec. 19.

The biosimilar products—essentially generic versions of biologic drugs--are expected to carry a dual Amgen-Watson label, according to a news release announcing the collaboration. The deal will not produce biosimilar versions of Amgen’s proprietary products.

Amgen and Watson have targeted several specific drugs that they plan to morph into biosimilars, said Scott Foraker, who is in charge of Amgen’s biosimilar division, but he declined to release the names of the drugs.

The deal, the companies said, “reflects the shared belief that the development and commercialization of biosimilar products will not follow a pure brand or generic model, and will require significant expertise, infrastructure, and investment to ensure safe, reliably supplied therapies for patients.”

Amgen will head up the medicines’ development, manufacturing and initial commercialization, according to the news release. As part of the deal, Watson will contribute up to $400 million in co-development costs and share in the product development risk.

----Andrew Khouri