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Biogen to pay $700m to increase stake in Samsung Bioepis

Published 29 June 2018

Biogen has agreed to increase its stake in biopharmaceutical company Samsung Bioepis to nearly 49.9% in a deal of about $700m with its joint venture (JV) partner Samsung BioLogics.

The US biotechnology company had formed the JV in 2012 with Samsung BioLogics and has held a stake of around 5.4%.

Samsung Bioepis is focused on advancing a pipeline of biosimilar candidates that includes six late-stage candidates covering the therapeutic areas of immunology, oncology and diabetes.

Biogen has exercised its option to purchase additional shares of Samsung Bioepis to acquire an additional stake of around 44.6% stake in line with a previous understanding with its JV partner.

Following the transaction, Samsung BioLogics, which currently holds a 94.6% stake in Samsung Bioepis, will reduce its ownership to around 50.1%.

Based on certain regulatory closing conditions, the completion of the share purchase from Biogen is anticipated to be completed in the second half of this year.

Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos said: “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.

“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.”

In November 2017, Samsung Bioepis was granted approval from the European Commission for Ontruzant, its biosimilar version of Genentech’s Herceptin (trastuzumab), for the treatment of breast cancer. The approval is for the condition in early and metastatic stages and also for metastatic gastric cancer.

Ontruzant became the fourth biosimilar of Samsung Bioepis to have secured EC marketing authorization. Prior to that, the company had been granted approvals from the EC for Benepali (etanercept), Flixabi (infliximab) and Imraldi (adalimumab).

In April 2017, Samsung Bioepis obtained its first drug approval in the US after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved Renflexis (infliximab-abda), the company’s biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson's Remicade (infliximab) rheumatoid arthritis drug, across all eligible indications.

Image: An engineer at the Samsung Bioepis R&D Center. Photo: courtesy of Business Wire.