Merck ( MRK ) recently entered
into an agreement with Samsung Bioepis Co., Ltd. for the
development and commercialization of several pre-specified and
undisclosed biosimilar candidates.
Per the terms of the agreement, preclinical and clinical
development, process development and manufacturing, clinical
studies and registration will be handled by Samsung Bioepis.
Meanwhile, Merck will be responsible for commercialization.
Merck will make an upfront payment to Samsung Bioepis. Moreover,
Samsung Bioepis will be entitled to receive product supply income
as well as additional payments on the achievement of pre-specified
clinical and regulatory milestones. Additional financial details
were not available.
With this deal, Merck is looking to establish a presence in the
biosimilars market. Merck is looking towards biosimilars to drive
long-term growth. The biosimilars market represents huge commercial
opportunity with more than $60 billion of biologic sales slated to
lose patent protection through 2017.
We note that Merck is not the only company looking to establish
a presence in the biosimilars market. In fact, Samsung Bioepis is a
joint venture between Biogen Idec ( BIIB ) and Samsung
Biologics. The joint venture was set up for the development,
manufacture and marketing of biosimilars. Biosimilars are generic
versions of biologics.
Amgen ( AMGN ) also has a deal
for the worldwide development and commercialization of oncology
antibody biosimilar medicines.
Merck currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The company is
going through a challenging period with Singulair facing tough
generic competition. The loss of Singulair exclusivity in the EU
will impact results further. While headwinds remain in the form of
the Singulair genericization, EU pricing pressure, unfavorable
currency movement, US health care reform and pipeline setbacks,
some of the company's recent launches should start contributing
significantly to the top line in the forthcoming quarters.
Currently, Eli Lilly ( LLY ) looks
better-positioned with the company carrying a Zacks Rank #2
(Buy).AMGEN INC (AMGN): Free Stock Analysis ReportBIOGEN IDEC INC (BIIB): Free Stock Analysis
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