- The WSJ got a tip from insiders that Samsung is ready to spin off Samsung Bioepis. Experts suggest that the deal could value the company at close to $7 billion.
- Bioepis is partnered with Merck on biosimilar development, with a focus on biosimilar versions of Amgen's Enbrel and Johnson & Johnson's Remicade (and with early-stage development of biosimilars of Sanofi's Lantus, AbbVie' Humira, and Roche's Herceptin).
- Samsung Bioepis is owned by several entities, including Cheil Industries (a holding company), Samsung Electronics, and C&T.
The deal has been percolating just below the surface for a while now. In June, BioPharma Dive reported that Samsung and Merck, which are partnered in a biosimilar development joint-venture, were making progress with their development efforts.
So far, the two companies have shown successful phase III results for the Enbrel and Remicade biosims in terms of safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic equivalence. In addition, the venture is also making progress with a biosimilar version of Herceptin and recently reported positive phase III results for their biosimilar version of Humira.
And now news of a deal with Biogen has leaked out in a Korean newspaper—and Samsung confirmed it. The main reason that there continues to be any doubt at all is because of the well-known dodginess of large family-owned Korean conglomerates, which often keep large holdings sewn up in the hands of a very few large owners. However, Samsung is determined to be a major player in the $35 billion biosimilars arena, and therefore, this deal could realistically move forward.