Bioepis finds 2nd partner in China

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Bioepis finds 2nd partner in China

Samsung Bioepis is partnering with a private equity firm in China to commercialize three of its biosimilars in the country, the company announced Monday.

The agreement is the second major deal Samsung has secured to sell products in China, which has the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world. Its local partner for the deal is C-Bridge Capital, a private equity firm that manages assets worth $1.8 billion in the health care sector.

The contract concerns three of Samsung’s biosimilars: SB11, based on the eye treatment Lucentis; SB12, a copy of Soliris, which treats a rare disease that affects blood cells; and SB3, based on breast cancer drug Herceptin. SB11 and SB12 are currently undergoing clinical trials. SB3 is approved for commercialization in Europe, Korea and the United States.

Biosimilars, according to the FDA, are biological products that are approved based on proof they are highly similar to other FDA-approved products. The drugs have no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety or effectiveness from the reference product, but they cost less.

In collaboration with Samsung, C-Bridge will conduct clinical development, regulatory registration and commercialization in China. It will establish a new biopharmaceutical company for this task under the name AffaMed Therapeutics.

In exchange, Samsung Bioepis will receive an upfront payment, as well as royalties proportional to future sales. Financial details were not disclosed.

“We want to play an important role in widening access to high-quality health care for patients throughout China,” said Ko Han-sung, the Samsung Bioepis CEO. “C-Bridge is the right partner for this mission as evidenced in its exceptional track record of successfully turning portfolio companies like AffaMed Therapeutics into leading biopharmaceutical companies in China and beyond.”

The first commercialization deal of Samsung Bioepis in China was signed last month, with the Chinese biopharmaceutical company 3SBio. The deal was similar to C-Bridge, but for the biosimilar SB8, based on Avasin, a cure for various types of cancer and eye diseases.

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