Samsung Bioepis joins hands with Takeda to develop novel drugs

SEOUL-- South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Samsung Bioepis Co. said Monday that it has reached an agreement with Japan-based drug giant Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. to jointly develop new original drugs in a bid to expand its business area beyond copies of drugs.

Under the partnership, the two will develop novel biologic drugs in unmet disease areas by first working on a treatment for pancreatitis called TAK-671.

"Takeda's extensive knowledge and expertise in drug development makes the company an ideal partner for us as we aim to open a new chapter of developing novel drugs," said Ko Han-sung, CEO of Samsung Bioepis, in a press release.

The partnership will bring together Samsung Bioepis' biologics development platform with Takeda's in-depth expertise in drug development to collaboratively develop innovative drugs, Samsung Bioepis said.

Samsung Bioepis -- a joint venture between Samsung Biologics and Biogen Inc. -- won approval for Renflexis from authorities in Europe and Australia last year. Samsung BioLogics is a biopharmaceutical unit of South Korea's top conglomerate Samsung Group.

The market for biosimilars -- which are almost an identical copy of an original or generic drugs -- have grown in recent years as they are provided to customers at discounts. Biosimilars are officially approved copycat medicines developed after patents for the original biopharmaceuticals expire.

Also, the FDA approved Renflexis -- a biosimilar referencing Janssen Biotech, Inc.'s blockbuster immunology medicine Remicade -- marking the first time that a product made by Samsung Bioepis has been given the green light to be marketed in the U.S.

The company also awaits European regulatory decisions for its biosimilar versions of AbbVie Inc.'s Humira and Roche's Herceptin.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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