Buying 51 per cent of Bioton’s shares in Biopartners would give Actavis a foothold in the emerging biosimilars market. Entering the sector through acquisition allows Actavis to sidestep some of the challenges involved with developing and producing biosimilars.
These challenges are changing the composition of the generic sector. “We will have generic companies investing significantly more in research and we will see originator companies developing generics”, said Claudio Albrecht, CEO of Actavis.
Entry to the biosimilars market, either alone or in partnership with originators, will be limited to “large generic players such as Teva, Sandoz, Mylan and Actavis”, said Albrecht. Teva, Sandoz and Mylan have all made moves to gain biosimilar capabilities.
Actavis is now looking to strengthen its position in the sector by entering into an initial agreement with Bioton to discuss acquiring 51 per cent of its shares in Biopartners. Due diligence will now occur and Actavis has obtained exclusivity until November 1 2010.
Switzerland-based Biopartners operates by identifying market opportunities and partnering for clinical development, production and distribution. Manufacturing and development is performed with long-term strategic partners, including LG Life Sciences and Rentschler Biotechnologie.
Cooperation & therapeutic focus
During discussions Bioton and Actavis have agreed to assess cooperation in a number of areas.
These include: distribution of recombinant human insulin produced by Bioton; development of injection devices for drugs manufactured by Copernicus; and biotechnological drugs.
Other areas of potential cooperation are the development and distribution of: a third generation hepatitis B vaccine, produced by a Bioton subsidiary; and an insulin analog from Bioton.
Diabetes treatments are a focal point of these discussions and this is a deliberate strategy by Actavis. The Icelandic company intends to supplement its existing range of oral diabetic medicines with insulin and later insulin analogue.
Actavis is also considering supporting its oncology portfolio in a similar way. Albrecht said Actavis “has a wide selection of products used in chemotherapy” and consequently biosimilars could “be an ideal addition to our oncology franchise”.
Bioton and Actavis have agreed that the purchase price will take into account: the outcome of due diligence; the acquisition price Bioton paid for 100 per cent of Biopartners; the cost of advancing Biopartners’ product portfolio; and the commercialisation prospects of this pipeline.