FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Sandoz, the generics unit of Novartis, said on Monday it plans to launch a generic version of Johnson & Johnson’s anti-inflammatory drug Stelara under a collaboration deal with Samsung Bioepis.
For Sandoz, which will become an independent company early next month, the transaction means more investment in the growing market of biosimilars, cheaper copies of complex biotech drugs that have lost their patent protection.
Samsung Bioepis’ clinical development program for the biosimilar Stelara is well advanced and Sandoz has acquired the rights to commercialize the product in the United States, Canada and most of Europe, the company said, adding that financial terms were confidential.
The deal “will further strengthen our offering to immunology patients and means we now have five potential high-value biosimilar launches over the coming years,” said Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor.
Stelara is used to treat autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.
Sandoz relies on biosimilars to increase profitability. The Swiss company has said its adjusted core profit margin was likely to be 18-19% this year, up from 21.3% in 2022, pressured by higher marketing costs and cost inflation, but that the margin would likely be 24% to 26% by 2022. 2028.
Novartis shareholders will vote on the Sandoz spin-off at an extraordinary general meeting on September 15, with the first trading day scheduled for October 4.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger and Miranda Murray; Editing by Michael Perry)