Boston-based Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB) has announced a “proposed transaction” with Samsung Bioepis Co., Ltd. to secure the exclusive rights to commercialize two new ophthalmology biosimilars, SB11 referencing Lucentis® and SB15 referencing Eylea®, in major markets worldwide, including the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan and Australia.
In addition, Biogen will acquire exclusive commercialization rights for Samsung Bioepis’ anti-TNF portfolio, including Benepali (etanercept), Flixabi (infliximab) and Imraldi (adalimumab), in China. Biogen will also acquire an option to extend its existing commercial agreement with Samsung Bioepis for this anti-TNF portfolio in Europe.
TNF inhibitors are drugs that help stop inflammation in diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. The biosimilars in this portfolio reference major blockbusters such as Enbrel (marketed by Amgen and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals), Remicade (Janssen Biotech) and Humira (AbbVie).
The deal will cost Biogen $100 million upfront and up to $210 million in additional development, regulatory and sales-based milestones.
In 2018 global sales for Lucentis (produced by Roche‘s Genentech) and Eylea (produced by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals) were almost $11 billion, with more than $5.8 billion spent in the U.S. alone. Biogen will also acquire an option to extend its existing commercial agreement with Samsung Bioepis for this anti-TNF portfolio in Europe by five years, subject to a $60 million option exercise fee.
This deal follows Biogen’s March 2019 acquisition of Nightstar Therapeutics plc (NASDAQ: NITE) for $877 million. Nightstar is a clinical-stage gene therapy company developing treatments for rare inherited retinal diseases that added two mid- to late-stage clinical assets, as well as several pre-clinical programs, to Biogen’s ophthalmic portfolio.