Biogen expands ophthalmology portfolio with $310m biosimilar deal

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Olga Ignatova)
(Image: Getty/Olga Ignatova)

Related tags Biogen Samsung bioepis Lucentis Eylea

Biogen strikes deal with Samsung Bioepis for the commercial rights to two biosimilars referencing Lucentis and Eylea.

The agreement sees Biogen acquire the commercial rights to SB11, a biosimilar to Lucentis (ranibizumab), and SB15, a biosimilar to Eylea (aflibercept), for sale in the US, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.

Further than this, Biogen also noted that it will acquire the exclusive commercialization rights to Samsung Bioepis’ Benepali (etanercept), Flixabi (infliximab) and Imraldi (adalimumab) biosimilars in China. The company will also hold the option to extend the commercialization rights into Europe.

In return for the licensing agreements, Biogen will pay $100m (€90.5m) upfront and could pay a further $210m (€190m) depending on various milestone payments.

Samsung Bioepis will be responsible for the further development and manufacture of the potential products.

As of July 2018​, Biogen holds a 49.9% stake in Samsung Bioepis. At the time of the deal, a spokesperson for Biogen told us that biosimilars are not part of the ‘strategic core’ for the business, but could provide a strong source of revenue.

Ophthalmology focus

Despite not being core to the business, the company is looking to translate the biosimilars into a broader focus on ophthalmology. In March 2019​, Biogen acquired Nightstar Therapeutics for $800m, which added the latter’s portfolio of gene therapies within ophthalmology to the former company’s pipeline.

In particular, the deal added two mid- to late-stage assets, with NSR-RPGR, a gene therapy for pigmentosa, currently going through Phase II/III trials.

The addition of Samsung Bioepis’ biosimilars to Lucentis and Eylea also allows Biogen to potentially tap into the $11bn in combined sales for the products globally.

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