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Biogen Idec licenses anti-TNF biosimilars

Treatment prospects emerge from joint venture with Samsung Biologics

Biogen Idec building 

Biogen Idec says it has licensed multiple biosimilars of anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) developed at its joint venture with Korea's Samsung Biologics.

The US biopharma company has exercised an option to market the biosimilars - which it describes as "widely-used therapies to treat conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease - in Europe, where there is "a strong market for biosimilars and a defined regulatory pathway".

The anti-TNF biosimilars have been developed by Samsung Bioepis, a $300m joint venture set up between Biogen Idec and Samsung in 2011. Earlier this year Merck & Co also joined the party, signing a development and commercialisation deal for a number of undisclosed biosimilars.

Biogen Idec said taking the deal to the next level will allows it to contribute its experience in manufacturing and commercialisation in specialty markets, without losing focus on its core business. Europe is seen as one of the most accessible markets for biosimilars as the regulatory pathway to approval has been in place since 2005 and the first products reached the market several years ago.

The latest announcement is the first time one of the specific biosimilar targets of Samsung Bioepis has been officially announced, although the EU clinical trials register reveals one study comparing a candidate called SB2 with Johnson & Johnson's Remicade (infliximab), and another called SB4 being tested opposite Amgen's Enbrel (etanercept).

Remicade was the first branded monoclonal antibody to face biosimilar competition in the EU after Korean firm Celltrion and marketing partner Hospira won approval for their version of the drug. J&J's branded drug had EU sales of more than $2bn last year.

Christopher Hansung Ko, Samsung Bioepis' chief executive, said the company was excited to extend its relationship with Biogen Idec into commercial operations, adding that it "will further serve as a solid foundation for Samsung Bioepis to develop into a worldwide biosimilar leader."

Article by
Phil Taylor

17th December 2013

From: Research

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