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Samsung Bioepis takes AbbVie to court over attempts to delay Humira biosimilars

Published on 05/04/16 at 09:53am

Samsung Bioepis has filed a lawsuit against Abbvie (NYSE: ABBV) to stop the maker of the world’s bestselling drug Humira (adalimumab) from blocking the launch of its own biosimilar version of the arthritis medication.

On March 24, the unit of South Korea's Samsung Group, along with partner Biogen, filed a suit in the UK against AbbVie. The patent for the blockbuster drug Humira has October 2018 expiry date in Europe, however, AbbVie has been submitting new patents in a bid to delay competition from biosimilars. The composition patent for Humira in the US will expire in December 2016.

In 2015, rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira generated sales of $14 billion. The drug makes for 61% of AbbVie’s net revenue.

In January, the company won European regulatory backing for the biotech version of Amgen’s (Nasdaq: AMGN) rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel (benepali).

According to the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics biosimilars could save healthcare systems in the US and Europe’s top five markets as much as €98 billion ($111 billion) by 2020.

Biosimilars or biotech drugs are made from living cells, unlike generic versions of chemical medicines, making it impossible to create exact compounds.

South Korean conglomerate Samsung Group's, Samsung Bioepis is a venture with the US biotech firm Biogen with a pipeline of 13 biosimilars. The company launched its first biosimilar version for Amgen's Enbrel (etanercept) last year in South Korea.

Anjali Shukla

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