Biogen Upping Stake in Biosimilars JV

Biogen has agreed to pay around US$700 million (€602 million) to increase its stake in biosimilars joint venture Samsung Bioepis from 5.4% to 49.9%.

Samsung Bioepis was formed in 2012 as a joint venture between Samsung BioLogics and Biogen to develop biosimilar drugs. Under terms of the deal, Biogen had the option to increase its single-digit involvement to 49.9% by mid-2018, something the firm announced it would be doing Thursday.

“We are very pleased with the progress made to date at Samsung Bioepis and believe exercising this option is an opportunity to create meaningful value for our shareholders,” Michel Vounatsos, Biogen’s CEO said.

“This option allows us to increase our ownership share in a leading biosimilar company at what we believe are attractive terms.  We look forward to building an important relationship with Samsung BioLogics.”

Samsung Bioepis did not comment on the announcement when approached by BioProcess Insider.

Biosimilars

Since its inception, Samsung Bioepis has become one of the most successful global biosimilar developers with European approval for versions of Enbrel (etanercept), Remicade (infliximab), Humira (adalimumab), Lantus (insulin glargine), and Herceptin (trastuzumab).

The firm’s infliximab biosimilar, Renflexis, is also one of only a handful of biosimilar products approved and launched in the US.

Biosimilars generated $128 million for Biogen in the first quarter 2018, nearly double the same period in the previous year.

Samsung BioLogics is currently being investigated by South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) over allegations of accounting fraud. In a response, the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) said it changed its financial reporting schedule in 2015 due to Biogen’s potential share option.

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