Merck and Dr. Reddy seal biosimilar pact
Enlarge image


Merck and Dr. Reddy seal biosimilar pact

07.06.2012 - German Merck Serono and India’s Dr. Reddy’s will co-develop copycat cancer antibody drugs that are losing patent protection.

Darmstadt/Hyberabad – German Merck has made its first step into the emerging biosimilars market while it restructures its business to cope with expected revenue losses for some of its biggest selling pharmaceutical products. On 6 June, Merck KGaA and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. announced plans to co-develop a portfolio of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) in oncology. With the deal, Merck Serono, whose dual Geneva-based headquarters is to be shut down due to restructuring, expands its market presence to emerging markets. Dr. Reddy’s can benefit from Merck’s access to the European and US market and the company’s know-how in antibody development.

According to the terms of the agreement, the companies will share their expertises to bring new cheaper formulations of approved antibodies to the market, which have lost patent protection. The Indian generic drug maker, who markets already four biosimilars in India and other emerging markets, brings in its expertise in making biosimilar versions of originator drugs and will lead early product development including Phase I studies. Merck-Serono, the biotech arm of German Merck KGaA, will contribute its know-how in developing, manufacturing, and commercialising biopharmaceuticals and will take responsibility for manufacturing and late clinical development. Commercially, Merck will hold the rights to market any co-developed in all markets outside the US with the exception of several unspecified emerging markets. In the US, where rules for biosimilar market approval are expected to be established this year, both Merck and Dr Reddy’s will co-market co-developed mAbs and will share profits. Dr Reddy’s will receive royalty payments from Merck. The companies said they will fully share R&D costs.

Just recently, the world’s largest antibody contract manufacturing firm Boehringer Ingelheim announced to step into the biosimilar field. All major pharma players have already established biosimilar pipelines, because the copycat versions of antibody blockbusters such as Herceptin, Mabthera can be developed 30% cheaper than the originators. Experts say, however, that market uptake of biosimilars will depend on acceptance of the copycat drugs in the US.


26.11.2015 Bioeconomy movers and shakers from every corner of the globe met this week at the world’s first Global Bioeconomy Summit in Berlin to discuss, debate and define better ways to ensure the bioeconomy succeeds on an international level.


24.11.2015 After weeks of speculation it is official: US pharma major Pfizer and Irish Botox maker Allergan will merge. With the deal, Pfizer is planning to dodge the high US taxes, causing indignation among US politicians.


23.11.2015 Amidst talk of the IPO window closing and cancelled flotations, diagnostics firms are still striking a chord with investors. Swedish Immunovia and German Curetis are successfully raising public money.


20.11.2015 French Sanofi and British AstraZeneca are giving open innovation a go: The two pharma giants will exchange thousands of compounds – for free.


19.11.2015 French gene editing company Cellectis has granted Servier the rights to bring cancer immunotherapy UCART19 to market. Servier in turn has teamed up with Pfizer to hurry development along.


17.11.2015 The first Italian accelerator specifically for biotech projects has been launched with help from Sofinnova Partners. The plan of BiovelocITA: to help Italy grow into one of Europe’s strongest biotech markets.


13.11.2015 Scientists in Bath, UK, have developed a medical dressing that turns fluorescent green when it detects infection. The researchers hope that the smart burns dressing will help fight antibiotic resistance.


13.11.2015 Out with the old: Roche is discarding four sites with 1,200 staff in an effort to restructure its manufacturing network for small molecules. Instead, a new manufacturing site will be built in Switzerland.


10.11.2015 Algae have many skills, but cancer fighting was not one of them – until now. Researchers from Australia and Germany have genetically engineered diatom algae to accurately deliver chemotherapeutic drugs.


10.11.2015 AstraZeneca has plucked Californian biopharma company ZS Pharma from under Actelion’s nose. The UK company is paying US$2.7bn (€2.5bn) to acquire ZS and its promising hyperkalaemia treatment currently under US regulatory review.


All Events


Strasbourg (F)

BioFIT 2015

Current issue

All issues

Product of the week


Stock list

All quotes


  • EVOCUTIS (UK)0.12 GBP33.33%
  • EPIGENOMICS (D)2.65 EUR17.26%


  • THERAMETRICS (CH)0.04 CHF-20.00%
  • SERODUS (N)2.18 NOK-18.35%
  • DEINOVE (F)5.14 EUR-17.63%


  • PLETHORA (UK)5.50 GBP91.0%
  • PROTHENA PLC (IE)75.31 USD46.2%


  • EPIGENOMICS (D)2.65 EUR-44.0%
  • RENEURON (UK)2.88 GBP-25.8%


  • KARO BIO (S)37.90 SEK5314.3%
  • CHRONTECH PHARMA (S)0.34 SEK1600.0%
  • GALAPAGOS (B)46.60 EUR260.1%


  • BIOTEST (D)15.31 EUR-81.0%
  • NEOVACS (F)0.80 EUR-76.5%

No liability assumed, Date: 29.11.2015