SOUTH KOREA — Novartis’ generic drugs division, Sandoz, has forged a strategic collaboration with Samsung Bioepis to develop a biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson’s widely-used anti-inflammatory drug, Stelara.

Stelara is a medication vital in treating autoimmune disorders such as Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis. This partnership aims to transform the biosimilar market, offering patients an affordable alternative to a vital medication.

As the biosimilar industry surges forward, Sandoz and Samsung’s joint venture promises to create a ripple effect, impacting healthcare accessibility, reducing costs, and potentially revolutionizing the treatment landscape for millions.

Biosimilars are essentially lower-cost replicas of complex biotech drugs, no longer protected by patents.  It’s a biologic medical product that’s almost identical to an original product, manufactured by a different company.

In this case, Sandoz is bringing its expertise in developing, manufacturing, and commercializing biosimilars to the table.

For Sandoz, which is poised to become an independent entity, this collaboration represents a strategic investment in the burgeoning biosimilar market.

The stakes are high, and Sandoz is banking on biosimilars to enhance its profitability. While the company predicts its adjusted core profit margin to dip this year due to marketing expenses and cost inflation, it anticipates soaring to an impressive 24% to 26% by 2028.

Samsung Bioepis has been diligently advancing its clinical development program for the Stelara biosimilar. The partnership grants Sandoz the rights to commercialize the product in the United States, Canada, and most of Europe, with financial specifics kept confidential.

As Sandoz CEO Richard Saynor puts it, this deal “will further strengthen our immunology patient offering and means we now have five potential high-value upcoming biosimilar launches over the next few years.”

The impact of this collaboration extends beyond business interests. It holds the promise of expanding patients’ access to and affordability of critical healthcare treatments.

While the exact drug in focus remains undisclosed, this partnership signifies a significant boost to the biosimilar market, offering patients a cost-effective alternative to a prominent Johnson & Johnson medication.

Impact on the biosimilar market

The biosimilar market has been steadily on the rise, with numerous companies investing in the development and commercialization of these more economical alternatives to biologic drugs.

The Sandoz and Samsung alliance is expected to propel this growth further. Their combined expertise and resources will not only expedite development but also streamline regulatory approval and commercialization.

With more biosimilars entering the market, competition is poised to intensify, potentially leading to lower prices for patients.

This development is particularly welcome news for individuals reliant on costly biologic drugs, as biosimilars’ availability can substantially reduce healthcare expenses.

Contribution to expanding healthcare access

This collaboration aligns with the broader pharmaceutical industry trend of increasing healthcare accessibility.

Biosimilars play a pivotal role in this endeavor by making biologic drugs more affordable and accessible. This is especially crucial in low- and middle-income countries, where high costs often restrict access to biologic treatments.

By targeting a biosimilar version of a Johnson & Johnson drug, Sandoz and Samsung are not just expanding the biosimilar market; they are actively contributing to the global effort to bridge healthcare disparities.

This initiative could potentially enhance the health outcomes of countless patients worldwide, particularly those grappling with chronic diseases necessitating long-term biologic treatments.

The Sandoz and Samsung partnership signifies a promising development in the biosimilar landscape. It’s a significant step toward enhancing patient access to critical healthcare treatments while making them more affordable.

For all the latest healthcare industry news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, and YouTube Channel, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, and like us on Facebook.