Building on biosimilars

Biogen Idec and Samsung have announced the beginning of a new agreement focused on biosimilars.

Kelsey Kaustinen
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SEOUL, Korea & WESTON, Mass.Biogen Idec and Samsunghave announced the beginning of a new agreement focused on biosimilars. Underthe companies' new agreement, they will invest $300 million towards theestablishment of a joint venture to develop, manufacture and marketbiosimilars. Samsung will hold the leading role in the joint venture, andBiogen Idec will contribute its protein engineering and biologics manufacturingexpertise.
"At Samsung, one of our goals is to help patients around theworld by increasing the accessibility and affordability of existing medicines,"Tae-Han Kim, Ph.D., CEO of Samsung Biologics, said in a press release. "Sincemany of the world's top-selling drugs are biologics, developing and makinghigh-quality biosimilars is critical to that goal. By combining Biogen Idec'sexpertise in biologics with our business acumen and proven record of success innew business development, we are taking a significant step toward becoming amajor player in the biopharmaceutical industry and investing in an importantgrowth engine for our company."
Per the terms of the agreement, both companies will providefunding for the joint venture. Samsung will put forward $255 million, gainingan 85 percent stake, and Biogen Idec will put forward $45 million and gain a 15percent stake. The joint venture will be based in Korea and will contract withBiogen Idec and Samsung Biologics for technical development and manufacturingservices. Samsung Biologics, established in April of this year, is a Samsungbusiness formed to specialize in biopharmaceutical manufacturing. Biosimilarsof Biogen Idec's proprietary products will not be pursued by the joint venture.
In a note on the company's public policy with relation tohealth care reform, Biogen Idec says that, "We believe biosimilars, follow-onversions of original biological products, have an important role to play inproviding high-quality drugs to patients at a lower cost. Moreover, from abusiness perspective, we expect biosimilars could provide a meaningful futurerevenue stream for our company, given our large-scale manufacturing capacity."
Biogen Idec has experience in manufacturing "across a rangeof biologics from monoclonal antibodies to interferon proteins," as well as"process sciences capability for cell culture and downstream processing," thecompany website notes. Biogen Idec has facilities dedicated to biologicalbulk-manufacturing, including its 250,000-square-foot large-scale manufacturingplant in Research Triangle Park, N.C., which has 90,000 liters of bioreactorcapacity and is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world.
"The future ofhealthcare will continue to be driven by innovation, but it will also be aboutensuring patients have access to cost-effective therapies, and biosimilars willplay an important role in that," George A. Scangos, Ph.D., CEO of Biogen Idec,said in a press release. "This relationship will allow us to leverage ourworld-class protein engineering and biologics manufacturing capabilities, whilemaintaining focus on our mission of discovering, developing and deliveringinnovative therapies for patients worldwide with neurodegenerative diseases,hemophilia and autoimmune disorders. We are very impressed with Samsung's trackrecord of leadership and excellence in all their businesses and are excited tobe working with them."
The completion of this agreement is subject to customaryclosing conditions, including antitrust clearance by U.S. and Koreanregulators.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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