Home BUSINESS News Biogen to Sell Biosimilar-Venture Stake to Partner Samsung Biologics

Biogen to Sell Biosimilar-Venture Stake to Partner Samsung Biologics

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Biogen to Sell Biosimilar-Venture Stake to Partner Samsung Biologics

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Biogen Inc. is selling its share in biosimilar joint venture

Samsung

Bioepis for at least $2.25 billion to partner

Samsung Biologics,


207940 4.07%

adding to its cash pile after the disappointing launch of its Alzheimer’s disease drug Aduhelm.

Biogen and Samsung Biologics created Samsung Bioepis in 2012 to develop, manufacture and market biosimilar drugs, lower-priced copies of drugs made from living cells, including the rheumatoid-arthritis treatments Enbrel and Humira.

Biogen, based in Cambridge, Mass., owns a nearly 50% stake in the joint venture.

Under terms of the agreement announced late Thursday, Biogen will receive $1 billion in cash upon closing and then two payments of $812.5 million on the first anniversary of the closing and $437.5 million on the second anniversary of the closing.

Biogen is also eligible to receive up to $50 million contingent on reaching certain commercial milestones, Biogen said.

Lawmakers and patient groups have looked for biosimilars to help lower costs for prescription drugs, like Humira and Enbrel, costing tens of thousands dollars a year.

Yet the copies, which were first authorized under the Affordable Care Act, haven’t been priced for as much of a discount as supporters expected and haven’t sold as much as anticipated. However, some analysts forecast higher uptake, as more drugs like big-selling Humira are copied.

Most of Samsung Bioepis’s biosimilar sales are in Europe.

The deal would give Biogen cash to make new acquisitions, as it grapples with the fallout over Aduhelm. Earlier this month, the agency overseeing Medicare issued a draft decision that it would pay for the drug only for patients in clinical trials, a move likely to severely restrict the numbers of patients receiving the drug.

During a meeting with analysts this month, Chief Executive

Michel Vounatsos

said Biogen was working closely with its board to consider “strategic options” in the wake of the Medicare draft decision.

In December, Biogen said it was planning to cut costs by $500 million.

Through Thursday’s close, Biogen shares had fallen 46.2% over the past 12 months.

Biogen has a 50-50 profit split with Samsung on its biosimilar venture. In the first nine months of 2021, the company reported $610.2 million in biosimilar product revenue, all of it from outside the U.S. The companies plan to start selling their first U.S. biosimilar, for the vision-loss drug Lucentis, later this year.

Biogen didn’t say when it expected the transaction to close. After the deal closes, Biogen will continue to help sell the joint venture’s existing portfolio of biosimilars. A Biogen spokeswoman said that the company’s 50-50 profit split wouldn’t change.

Write to Joseph Walker at joseph.walker@wsj.com

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Appeared in the January 28, 2022, print edition as ‘Biogen Cashes Out Biosimilars Interest.’

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