Samsung Bioepis begins research on Soliris biosimilarKorean pharmaceutical firm Samsung Bioepis has started research on a biosimilar for the drug Soliris, used to treat paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), industry sources said Wednesday.
According to the sources, Samsung Bioepis plans to develop and release a more affordable version of the product - originally developed by U.S.-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals - under the name SB12.
Samsung Bioepis will carry out clinical tests on 240 adults in Germany. The project is estimated to run through April next year.
PNH is a disease in which the destruction of red blood cells leads to a red discoloration of the urine. Being a rare disease, there are only approximately 750 patients in Korea.
The local price of a single 30-milliliter (1 ounce) dose of Soliris costs 6 million won ($527). The average cost of the original is estimated at 500 million won for a one-year supply.
Samsung Bioepis said the latest move shows the company is penetrating the rare disease treatment drug market, based on its experiences in developing other biosimilar products.