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12:00 AM
 | 
Dec 19, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Biogen's biosimilars shot

Biogen Idec's biosimilars deal based on Samsung track record in joint ventures

Six months after telling investors it intended to strike a biosimilars deal that wouldn't distract it from its core business, Biogen Idec Inc. announced a JV with Samsung Group that will tap into the biotech's manufacturing prowess immediately with the option to become more involved later.

Samsung is a newcomer to biotherapeutics, but Biogen Idec liked the Korean conglomerate's determination to enter biosimilars, the resources it has committed to the effort and its track record of entering new businesses.

In March 2010, Samsung disclosed its intention to invest W2.1 trillion ($2 billion) in developing biosimilars over 10 years, with the expectation of W1.8 trillion in annual revenues by 2020.

Its first step came this February, when Samsung announced a JV with Quintiles Transnational Corp. to form contract manufacturer Samsung Biologics. Quintiles invested $30 million for a 10% stake in the JV.

Samsung Biologics is constructing a biomanufacturing facility that it hopes will have six 5,000-liter bioreactors ready for operation in January 2013 and six 15,000-liter bioreactors ready for operation in 2017. The company will offer cGMP manufacturing services for cell line development, process and analytical development, clinical and commercial manufacturing and aseptic fill and finish operations.

At the time, Samsung said it expected to begin production of biosimilars at the new facility in 2016. The following month, the company received clearance from the Korean Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) to begin clinical trials of a rituximab biosimilar.

The JV with Biogen Idec is the Korean company's...

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