Eye on Pharma: Biogen Will Increase Its Stake in Samsung Bioepis

Jeffrey Capello, executive vice president and chief financial officer, divulged that Biogen intends to exercise its option to increase its stake in the Samsung Bioepis joint venture. Currently, Samsung BioLogics holds 94.6% of the company, and Biogen owns the remaining 5.4%.
Kelly Davio
April 26, 2018
Biogen, one partner in the biosimilar development company Samsung Bioepis, reported total revenues of $3.1 billion in its first quarter 2018 business update call. While most of Biogen’s earnings—up 11% from the same period in 2017—derived from its drugs targeting multiple sclerosis, Jeffrey Capello, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said that biosimilars brought in $128 million in revenues, up from $66 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Approximately 80,000 patients are now taking Biogen’s biosimilars, said Capello, and the uptake of Benepali, a European Medicines Agency–approved etanercept biosimilar referencing Enbrel, is estimated to have produced an €800 million (approximately $970 million) annual savings in Europe.

Biogen sees the potential for even greater biosimilar growth ahead; earlier this month, together with Samsung, Biogen reached an agreement with AbbVie, the maker of the reference adalimumab (Humira). The settlement ended patent litigation over the reference drug and will allow commercialization of Samsung Bioepis’ approved adalimumab biosimilar, Imraldi, in Europe beginning in October 2018. Capello said that the adalimumab biosimilar will be a growth driver for the business in the days ahead.

Capello also divulged that Biogen intends to exercise its option to increase its stake in the Samsung Bioepis joint venture. Currently, Samsung BioLogics holds 94.6% of the company, and Biogen owns the remaining 5.4%. According to Reuters, Biogen has the option to increase its stake in the joint company to as much as 49.9%. That investment, says Korean media outlet The Investor, could be worth as much as $370 million.

Currently, Samsung Bioepis’ pipeline includes etanercept, infliximab (approved and launched in the United States as Renflexis), adalimumab, insulin glargine (tentatively approved in the United States as a follow-on insulin product), trastuzumab (for which a Biologics License Application was filed with the FDA in late 2017), and bevacizumab.  
 

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