Biogen to sell stake in biosimilar JV with Samsung for $2.3 billion

Transaction will see Samsung Biologics become a notable pharma, as more of its biosimilars score approvals.

The Joint Venture (JV), Samsung Bioepsis, which was formed in collaboration with Samsung Biologics has developed a strong anti-Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) since it was founded in 2012. At its founding, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based held a 15 percent stake, with Samsung Biologics holding an 85 percent majority. Biogen’s stake was subsequently increased to nearly 50 percent in mid-2018 after forking out $670 million. In exiting the JV, Biogen will be selling its stake to its partner. Samsung Biologics will reportedly be paying $1 billion in an upfront cash payment. The remaining $1.25 billion will be deferred over two payments. The first deferred payment of $812.5 million will be due at the first anniversary and the remaining $437.5 million will be due at the second anniversary of the transaction.

Over the years, the JV has had six biosimilars approved across the globe. Three of these were in auto-immune and two were in the oncology field. An additional biosimilar is nearing launch. Among the biosimilars approved include versions of blockbuster biologics including J&J’s Remicade (infliximab), Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept), AbbVie’s Humira (adalimumab), and Roche’s Herceptin (trastuzumab). Four more of the JV’s biosimilars are in Phase III clinical trials. Despite Biogen’s planned exit, its CEO Michel Vounatsos still touted the importance of biosimilars. “Biosimilars are essential to help sustain healthcare systems and represent an important value creation opportunity for Biogen,” saud Vounatsos. The transaction will see Samsung Biologics shift towards being a top tier pharmaceutical company. Biogen, on the other hand, could still receive up to $50 million once certain commercial milestones are reached.