Teva, Alvotech Partner on Biosimilars for US Market

August 5, 2020
Skylar Jeremias

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has expanded on its hopes for a biosimilar comeback with a commercialization deal with Alvotech, which could bring as many as 5 biosimilars to the US market.

Amid a revenue pounding from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Alvotech have entered into a strategic partnership for the commercialization of 5 biosimilar candidates for the US market.

The companies did not indicate which particular molecules they are working to collaborate on but noted that the originator products currently generate around $35 billion in sales in the United States. It is one of several global commercialization deals Alvotech has made. The Reykjavik, Iceland—based company is in the development stage as a biosimilar manufacturer and has many biosimilar candidates in its pipeline. It is working currently on an adalimumab biosimilar that references Humira.

Israel-based Teva reported a 7% dip in revenues for the second quarter, which it said was due to lower sales of some products caused in part by a higher-than-anticipated sales volume during the first quarter related to early pandemic drug purchases. The company’s first biosimilar product, a rituximab (Truxima), was announced last year as the first of several biosimilar offerings.

It was clear from the language used at the time by Kåre Schultz, Teva's CEO, that the company was banking heavily on biosimilars to improve its earnings picture. Truxima, in fact, did help to counter revenue declines during the just-ended second quarter, although Teva did not provide exact figures in a quarterly update given simultaneously with the Alvotech partnership announcement.

Teva has struggled in recent years to restructure and cut spending and its employee headcount to counter mounting debt. The company prior to the pandemic had anticipated a more promising outlook.

“This commercial partnership with Alvotech will enable Teva to lend its technical expertise in working with the FDA to bring products to the US market while broadening its growing biosimilar portfolio and continuing to leverage its unique cross-functional expertise across both specialty and generic medicines,” said Brendan O’Grady, executive vice president and head of North America Commercial at Teva.

“We are very proud to announce our strategic alliance with Teva…to accelerate the introduction and adoption of new biosimilar medicines for patients in the US market,” said Robert Wessman, founder and chairman at Alvotech, in a statement.

The partnership will assign development, registration, and supply management responsibilities to Alvotech, and Teva will have rights to market the biosimilars in the United States.

The agreement will include an upfront payment followed by subsequent milestone payments over the next several years.

Teva’s Rocky Second Quarter

During the second quarter of 2020, Teva saw revenues of $3.87 million. It said the lower sales were in line with the company’s expectations considering unusually high demand seen in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teva’s revenues for its generic products in North America for the second quarter of 2020 decreased by 2% compared with the same quarter last year, totaling $923 million, according to the company.

However, the decrease was countered by an increase in revenues from sales of Truxima, which was included in the generics category. Truxima had a higher demand related to the pandemic, Teva said.

Truxima launched in the United States in November 2019 and was the first rituximab biosimilar. Truxima has also been on the European markets since 2017.

Alvotech has made similar multibiosimilar commercialization agreements. In January, the company partnered with JAMP Pharma to bring 5 biosimilars to the Canadian market. The company also entered into partnerships in 2019 with Germany-based STADA Arzneimittel to commercialize 7 biosimilar candidates for the European market and Kamada Ltd to commercialize 6 biosimilars for the Israeli market.