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Teva and Lonza join forces in biosimilars

Published on 21/01/09 at 01:02pm

Teva, the world's largest generics manufacturer, has teamed up with manufacturing specialist Lonza to exploit the market for biosimilar medicines.

The companies have established a joint venture to develop, manufacture and market a portfolio of biosimilars. They say the products will be safe and affordable generic equivalents to a range of biologic drugs, and expect to start work within the next three months.

Shlomo Yanai, Teva's President and chief executive, said the company had identified biosimilars as a major growth driver in its long-term strategy.

He added: "We have been augmenting our knowledge base, capabilities and infrastructure to position Teva as a leader in this market. This strategic partnership bolsters our biologics capabilities."

Biologic drugs are increasingly used to treat common diseases such as cancer and arthritis and the demand for them is set to increase. However, they are renowned for carrying high prices.

Biosimilars are medicines similar to original branded biologics. Due to the complex nature of biotechnology medicines they are not identical, but they are a cheaper alternative.

Healthcare systems are keen to see the launch of lower cost alternatives, but are also wary about the safety and efficacy of biosimilars.

Yanai said Lonza's background in biopharmaceutical development, large-scale manufacturing and state of the art facilities made it an ideal partner for Teva. In turn, he said Teva could offer its global leadership and expertise in generic pharmaceuticals to the joint venture, to generate benefits for both companies.

Teva and Lonza will retain the ability to explore other opportunities in the area of biosimilars beyond the scope of this partnership, and will continue to assess their co-operation under the joint venture.

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