Is Biogen giving up its biosims business to Samsung Bioepis?

Biogen to sell biosims unit to Samsung Bioepis?

During the first-quarter earnings call, CEO Chris Viehbacher discussed his plan to revitalize Biogen and emphasized the need to find the optimal way to manage the biosimilar business while identifying the most suitable potential owner.

Now, three months later, it seems Biogen may have found an answer, as there are ongoing negotiations for a potential sale of the biosimilar unit to their long-time partner, Samsung Bioepis, according to a report from the Korea-based Yonhap News Agency. The publication cited “industry sources” as the basis for the deal talks.

“We have previously announced in earnings that we are evaluating strategic options for the biosimilars business and will provide further updates on the process as appropriate,” the spokesperson added.

In a statement to Yonhap, a Samsung Bioepis official said that “nothing has been set.”

“We are reviewing various strategies to secure our biosimilar production capability at a global level and are now focusing on expanding our R&D on competitive pipelines and our sales networks.” 

– Samsung Bioepis official

If the sale goes through, the deal is reportedly worth less than $770 million, as reported by Korea JoongAng Daily.

It’s worth noting that Biogen and Samsung Bioepis have a long-standing partnership. Biogen played a significant role in supporting Samsung Bioepis since its inception in 2012 by investing $45 million for a 15% stake in the company, which exclusively focuses on biosimilars. Six years later, Biogen invested $700 million to gain a 50% stake (minus one share) in Samsung Bioepis. However, last year, facing challenges after the failure to launch the Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm, Biogen sold its interest in the joint venture for $2.3 billion.

Recently, Samsung Bioepis’ parent company, Samsung Biologics, struck a deal worth $897 million with Pfizer to manufacture a variety of its biosimilars at its facility in South Korea. Additionally, they have made several other deals with major pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly, GSK, and Roche, this year.

All of this indicates that a potential sale of the biosimilar unit to Samsung Bioepis aligns with their long-standing relationship and could be a strategic move for both parties involved. However, official confirmation and further details are yet to be released.

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