Actavis Signals Interest in Biosimilars Market

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The generic-drug company Actavis (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) is considering acquiring a 51% stake in the biopharmaceutical company BioPartners Holdings (Barr, Switzerland) from Bioton, a Polish biotechnology company.

The generic-drug company Actavis (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) is considering acquiring a 51% stake in the biopharmaceutical company BioPartners Holdings (Barr, Switzerland) from Bioton, a Polish biotechnology company. Although the transaction is still in the preliminary stages, the move signals Actavis’s interest in entering the biosimilars market.

Bioton produces recombinant human insulin for markets in Poland, Russia, the Commonwealth of Independent States, China, India, and other Asia-Pacific countries. BioPartners also manufactures biosimilars such as Valtropin, a recombinant human growth hormone product approved by the European Medicines Agency. In addition, BioPartners is developing a sustained-release formulation of recombinant human growth hormone for once-a-week self injections. 

Under the agreement, Actavis has exclusive rights to perform due diligence on BioPartners until Nov. 1, 2010. Bioton and Activis also agreed to begin a common assessment for potential cooperation in the following areas: the distribution of recombinant human insulin produced by Bioton; the codevelopment of injection devices for injectable pharmaceutical drugs manufactured by Copernicus (formerly Kappa Medilab); the codevelopment and distribution of a third-generation hepatitis B vaccine manufactured by Bioton’s subsidiary, SciGen; the codevelopment and distribution of an insulin analog developed by Bioton; and areas related to biotechnological drugs.

Claudio Albrecht, CEO of Actavis, commented on the company’s interest in entering the biosimilars market and the changing market dynamics among generic-drug companies and between generic-drug and innovator-drug companies. “By entering into biosimilars, the generic companies gain access to a portfolio that requires a new approach to development and marketing,” he said in a company press release. “We will have generic companies investing significantly more in research, and we will see originator companies developing generics. Only the large generic players such as Teva, Sandoz, Mylan, and Actavis have the capability to do this, either by themselves or in partnerships with originators.”