Biosimilar deal as patents expire
Budapest/Tokyo – Hungary’s largest drugmaker Gedeon Richter Nyrt. has secured access to the Japanese market for its biosimilar pipeline. In mid-December, Richter CEO Erik Bogsch announced his company had signed a long-term licensing and collaboration agreement with Japan’s Mochida Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. Under the terms of the agreement, Mochida will contribute to the development costs of Richter’s biosimilar products, which are expected to hit the market in 2015. In return, it will receive exclusive rights for the marketing and distribution of the portfolio in Japan. Mochida will also participate in product development if special market-related development criteria are required in Japan. Following the launch of the products there, further sales-related royalties will become payable to Richter. Gedeon Richter’s management began setting up its biosimilar business in 2006. The firm currently runs a biomanufacturing plant in Budapest, and has invested a27.8m in the construction of a mammalian and insect cell manufacturing facility in Debrecen. It is slated to commence production of biosimilar and biosimilar antibody lots for clinical testing in 2012. The Hungarian firm has not provided any information about which products are currently under development, saying only that the focus will be on oncology and immunology. Patents for important recombinant insulins (Byetta, Humalog, Lantus), TNF blockers (Enbrel), Erythropoietins (Epogen, Neupogen) and monoclonal antibodies (Remicade, Rituxan, Herceptin, Tysabri) will expire by 2015. By then, business research sources like Global Industry Analysts expect the biosimilar market to reach the US$2bn mark.