Korean biosimilars firm Samsung Bioepis announced a risk-sharing strategic collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical through which the firms will jointly fund and co-develop multiple novel biologic treatments for unmet disease areas. The partners will start work immediately on an initial candidate, TAK-671, for the potential treatment of severe acute pancreatitis. No financial details were disclosed.

Samsung Bioepis president and CEO Christopher Hansung Ko said the deal marks the start of a new chapter for the firm, which was established in 2012.  “Five years ago, we entered the biopharmaceutical industry with a strong determination to transform the way therapies are brought to patients by replacing legacy processes with new and innovative ones. Together with Takeda, we look forward to realizing this vision by accelerating the development of effective therapies for patients who are currently without a viable treatment option.”

“At Takeda, we think differently—and creatively—about what makes a partnership successful and look to build on our strengths by collaborating with partners who have complementary expertise,” added Daniel Curran, M.D., head of Takeda’s Center for External Innovation. “This collaboration with Samsung Bioepis does that; by combining our unique capabilities in development and manufacturing along with fresh and innovative clinical approaches, we will maximize the potential for successful introduction of important medicines to patients.”

Samsung Bioepis is a joint venture between Samsung BioLogics and Biogen, which is developing a pipeline of biosimilars, including copies of Enbrel® (etanercept), Remicade® (infliximab), Humira® (adalimumab), Lantus® (insulin glargine), Herceptin® (trastuzumab), and Avastin® (bevacizumab).

During April, the firm won FDA approval for Renflexis™ (infliximab-abda), an infliximab biosimilar, across all eligible indications. The approval marked the first by the FDA for a biosimilar developed by Samsung Bioepis. The drug was launched in the U.S. by Merck & Co, last month.

The etanercept, infliximab, and insulin glargine biosimilars have previously been approved in various markets, including the EC. Samsung Bioepis’ Imraldi®, a biosimilar of adalimumab, was recommended for approval by the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in June. Biogen and Merck & Co are responsible for commercializing Samsung Bioepis’ approved products in designated territories.

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