Teva: ‘No’ to future JVs with Lonza, yes to biosimilar growth

By Fiona BARRY

- Last updated on GMT

Teva is keen to expand its biosimilars portfolio
Teva is keen to expand its biosimilars portfolio

Related tags Teva pharmaceutical industries

Teva will not form another joint venture with Lonza, but will look to purchases, partnerships and in-house developments to grow its biosimilars pipeline, say its executives.

Lonza and Teva pulled the plug on their joint venture (JV) in July 2013​, ending a 2009 agreement to develop biosimilars. When asked during a call with investors last week if there is “a possibility to work with Lonza again,​” Teva CEO Erez Vigodman answered “No​.”

However the company’s President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) added “as we go forward we will include Lonza, as well as many other potential partners, for engagement where we need outside help in terms of manufacturing and operations.​”

The Israeli generics firm has “deep respect for​” its relationship with Lonza, continued Michael Hayden. “Lonza has been an outstanding manufacturing company.​”


Looking ahead to future biosimilars pipelines, Hayden said Teva would consider acquisitions as well as organic growth.

We really [are] looking to obviously both grow organically, but also look at inorganic growth in terms of potential partners in the space. Even though there is regulatory uncertainty and substitutability, we see this as a very important area for us to be in, reflecting the hybrid integrated nature of Teva.​”

Summarising Teva’s Q1 for 2014, the CSO told listeners the company had seen “great success​” with its “first wave​” of protein-based biosimilars currently under submission to the US Food and Drug Administration for Biologic Licensing Applications (BLAs).

Hayden said Teva was also making “significant efforts​” to develop biosimilars for reference biologics whose patents end after 2020, although he acknowledged the work had some way to go.

For biologics going off-patent between 2015 and 2020 such as Rituxan​ and AbbVie’s Humira, Hayden said the company planned to “do some in-house development as well as look to partner with those [firms] who might have products which we think are appropriate for our pipeline and some of the disease areas we want to be in.​”

The release of Teva’s Q1 financial results saw revenues of $5bn, up 2% on the same period last year.  The US patent on the daily injection form of its best-selling drug, immunomodulator Copaxone, is due to expire late this month.

Erez Vigodman joined Teva as CEO in January this year following the sudden resignation of Jeremy Levin​. Vigodman previously led Makhteshim Agan Industries, the world’s largest generics pesticides company. 

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