Biogen Subsides on Sale to Samsung

Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ:BIIB) is selling its stake in a pharmaceutical joint venture with the South Korean conglomerate Samsung for $2.3 billion.

Under the agreement, Samsung Biologics is acquiring Biogen’s ownership in Samsung Bioepis, which manufactures off-patent versions of biologic medicines called biosimilars.

Under the agreement terms, Biogen will receive $1 billion in cash upon closing, followed by $1.25 billion paid out over two years.

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

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

In a statement, Biogen noted that it would retain commercial rights to both Byooviz (Lucentis biosimilar) and the investigational candidate SB15 (Eylea biosimilar) and existing agreements around marketed products.

Biogen announced cost-reduction measures to reach $500 million in annualized savings in December.

Biosimilars are biologic products that have been demonstrated to be similar in efficacy, safety and immunogenicity to the originator’s approved reference product, with the advantage that they can offer significant cost savings and increased patient access.

Biosimilars may lower healthcare system costs broadly, creating headroom for innovation and could enable governments to potentially redirect savings to priorities such as increasing access to transformative therapies.

As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies.

BIIB shares are down 50 cents to $218.44 early Friday