The jointly funded collaboration will see South Korea’s Samsung Bioepis immediately begin working with Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Company to develop biologics in unmet disease areas. The first programme announced is TAK-671, a candidate for severe acute pancreatitis.
Further details of the deal remain undisclosed, but Samsung Bioepis spokesman Mingi Hyun told us the partnership is the first step in his firm’s strategy to build on its position in the biosimilars market move into the novel biologics space.
“Going forward, we will continue to look for additional co-development opportunities with multinational pharmaceutical and biotech companies,” he said. “Our model is to bring in assets from these companies with full development rights, as well as a share of future sales upon successful registration and commercialization of the therapy.”
He described the strategy as “a measured, step-by-step approach to gradually develop and integrate a complete set of capabilities” for novel biologics, rather than a sudden leap into the space, adding biosimilar will remain at the core of Samsung Bioepis.
“Make no mistake: our biosimilar business will continue to serve as the foundation of our company, while collaborations in novel biologics development will set the stage for future growth and value creation for our stakeholders.”
The company, formed as a joint venture between Samsung Biologics and Biogen in 2012, has launched versions of Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept) and J&J’s Remicade (infliximab) in multiple markets – including, for the latter, the US – and has versions of AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab), Roche’s Herceptin (trastuzumab) and Avastin (bevacizumab) in its first-wave pipeline pipeline.
And according to Hyun, the firm has multiple second and third-wave biosimilars in early stage development.
“Five years have passed, and we are now a leader in the biosimilar space.”