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AbbVie, Samsung Bioepis settle suits with delayed U.S. entry for adalimumab biosimilar


A new adalimumab biosimilar will become available in the European Union later this year, but a court settlement will keep Samsung Bioepis’ competitor off U.S. shelves until 2023.

Under the settlement, AbbVie, which manufactures adalimumab (Humira), will grant Bioepis and its partner, Biogen, a nonexclusive license to the intellectual property relating to the antibody. Bioepis’ version, dubbed SB5 (Imraldi), will enter global markets in a staggered fashion, according to an AbbVie press statement. In most countries in the European Union, the license period will begin on Oct. 16, 2018. In the United States, Samsung Bioepis’ license period will begin on June 30, 2023, according to the Abbvie statement.

Biogen and Bioepis hailed the settlement as a victory, but Imraldi won’t be the first Humira biosimilar to break into the U.S. market. Last September, AbbVie settled a similar suit with Amgen, granting patent licenses for the global use and sale of its anti–tumor necrosis factor–alpha antibody, Amgevita/Amjevita. Amgen expects to launch Amgevita in Europe on Oct. 16, 2018, and Amjevita in the United States on Jan. 31, 2023. Samsung Bioepis’ U.S. license date will not be accelerated upon Amgen’s entry.

Ian Henshaw, Biogen’s global head of biosimilars, said the deal further strengthens the company’s European biosimilars reach.

“Biogen is a leader in the emerging field of biosimilars through Samsung Bioepis, our joint venture with Samsung BioLogics,” Mr. Henshaw said in a press statement. “Biogen already markets two biosimilars in Europe and the planned introduction of Imraldi on Oct. 16 could potentially expand patient choice by offering physicians more options to meet the needs of patients while delivering significant savings to healthcare systems.”

AbbVie focused on the settlement as a global recognition of its leadership role in developing the anti-TNF-alpha antibody.

“The Samsung Bioepis settlement reflects the strength and breadth of AbbVie’s intellectual property,” Laura Schumacher, the company’s general counsel, said in the Abbvie statement. “We continue to believe biosimilars will play an important role in our healthcare system, but we also believe it is important to protect our investment in innovation. This agreement accomplishes both objectives.”

Samsung Bioepis will pay royalties to AbbVie for licensing its adalimumab patents once its biosimilar product is launched. As is the case with the prior Amgen resolution, AbbVie will not make any payments to Samsung Bioepis. “All litigation pending between the parties, as well as all litigation with Samsung Bioepis’ European partner, Biogen, will be dismissed. The precise terms of the agreements are confidential,” the Abbvie statement said.

The settlement brings to a closing a flurry of lawsuits Samsung Bioepis filed against AbbVie in 2017.

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