Biogen Idec, Samsung create biosimilars joint venture

(Ref: MarketWatch, FinanzNachrichten, NASDAQ, BusinessWeek, Business Wire, Triangle Business Journal)

Biogen Idec and Samsung agreed to establish a joint venture (JV) to develop, manufacture and market biosimilars, the companies said Tuesday. Under the deal, Biogen Idec will contribute $45 million for a 15 percent stake in the JV, which will be based in South Korea, while Samsung will contribute $255 million for an 85 percent share.

According to the parties, Samsung will take a leading role in the venture, with Biogen Idec contributing expertise in protein engineering and biologics manufacturing. The JV will contract with Biogen Idec and Samsung Biologics, which was established earlier this year as a joint manufacturing venture between Samsung and Quintiles, for technical development and manufacturing services. Biogen Idec and Samsung noted that the JV "will not pursue biosimilars of Biogen Idec’s proprietary products."

Samsung Biologics CEO Tae-Han Kim remarked that with the creation of the new JV, the company is "taking a significant step toward becoming a major player in the biopharmaceutical industry and investing in an important growth engine." In announcing the JV with Quintiles in February, Kim said the first biosimilar that Samsung would target would be Roche and Biogen Idec's Rituxan (rituximab), which has patent protection in the US until 2018 and in the rest of the world through 2013. The product generated sales of $6.1 billion last year.

Samsung has previously said it set aside 2.1 trillion won ($1.9 billion) to invest in biopharmaceuticals and is targeting revenue of 1.8 trillion won ($1.6 billion) a year by 2020 from these products.