Eye on Pharma: International Business Roundup

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Alvotech and Fuji Pharma signed a deal for a biosimilar in Japan; Signet partnered with Juno Pharmaceuticals to grow equity investment; and Sandoz expanded its ability to produce generic respiratory drugs by acquiring Coalesce.

Alvotech Signs Deal With Fuji Pharma for a Biosimilar in Japan

Alvotech announced a strategic partnership with Fuji Pharma for the development of commercialization of biosimilar medications in Japan.

Under the agreement, Fuji will have the exclusive commercial rights to a biosimilar product that is currently in the early stages of development. Alvotech will be responsible for the development and manufacturing of the drug.

The announcement did not disclose what the drug will be or what it will be used to treat. However, according to Alvotech’s pipeline, the Reykjavik, Iceland-based company has 2 biosimilar candidates in early development phases, 1 of which will be used in the immunology space and the 1 that will be used for oncology.

"A global approach to biosimilars is fundamental to our story….We believe the dynamics in the Japanese market will favor biosimilars in the long-term as the health care system balances cost and patient access,” said Robert Weddman, founder and chairman of Alvotech.

Signet and Juno Enter Into Partnership to Advance Generics, Biosimilars

Signet Healthcare Partners, a health care growth equity firm based in New York, and Juno Pharmaceuticals, a Canadian specialty generics pharmaceuticals company, joined forces for a strategic growth investment.

As part of the partnership, Signet will become a significant investor in Juno. Juno said in a statement that it intends to use the proceeds received from Signet to expand its generic and biosimilar portfolio and to accelerate growth.

“We are very pleased with the opportunity to partner with the Juno management team. They have decades of pharmaceutical industry experience and have built a growing business. They have done so through astute product selection and a disciplined approach to building their pipeline. We look forward to contributing to this effort,” said James Gale, managing director of Signet.

Ian Jacobson, CEO of Juno, said that the partnership will enhance Juno’s existing drug portfolio and will help the company become one of the leading generic pharmaceutical companies in Canada.

Sandoz Dives Into Respiratory Space With Coalesce Acquisition

Sandoz, a division of Novartis, announced that it successfully acquired Coalesce Product Development Limited, a United Kingdom-based medical and drug delivery device company.

The deal enables Sandoz to build on its existing portfolio of respiratory medicines and improve patient access to generic, and potentially biosimilar, therapies for respiratory conditions, such as asthma.

“Respiratory and complex generics are areas of relatively high unmet medical need, due largely to their comparatively high technical complexity….At Sandoz, we have the experience and expertise to succeed in these fields and this acquisition offers us a significant new growth platform, particularly in the US and Europe, reinforcing our commitment to pioneer access for patients,” said Richard Saynor, CEO of Sandoz, in a company statement.

In 2019, an estimated 262 million people, including adults and children, had an asthma diagnosis. During the same year, about 3.23 million death were attributed to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD. The economic burden of respiratory diseases on health care systems and productivity accounted for over $380 billion annually across 28 European Union member states.

“With an existing portfolio of six in market-products and nearly twice as many more in the pipeline, Sandoz sees respiratory as a key pillar of its ambitious long-term growth strategy and intends to actively explore further opportunities both in-house and externally. More generally, Sandoz is determined to grow its portfolio in the complex generics space, including complex injectables,” said the company.

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