Teva joins forces with Icelandic firm to gain edge on biosimilars

Biosimilars are generic versions of biopharmaceutical drugs; Iceland’s Alvotech will develop and supply the biosimilars and Teva will exclusively commercialize them in the US

Shoshanna Solomon was The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

In a lab in the Teva Medical Factory in Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem, March 15, 2010. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
In a lab in the Teva Medical Factory in Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem, March 15, 2010. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Reykjavik, Iceland-based biopharmaceutical company Alvotech said they are setting up an exclusive partnership to commercialize five biosimilar product candidates in the US.

Biosimilars are generic versions of already approved biopharmaceutical drugs. Biopharmaceutical drugs are made up of biological sources like sugars, proteins and nucleic acids.

The strategic partnership will combine Teva’s longstanding commercial presence and extensive infrastructure in the US market with Alvotech’s scientific experience and “state-of-the-art biologics manufacturing,” the companies said in a statement on Wednesday.

The initial pipeline contains biosimilar candidates that address multiple therapeutic areas, the statement said. The original biopharmaceutical products of these five biosimilar candidates currently generate around $35 billion in US sales, the statement said.

Teva CEO Kare Schultz at a press conference in Tel Aviv, February 19, 2019 (Shoshanna Solomon/Times of Israel)

Teva, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, is seeking to become a leader also in biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars. The company said also on Wednesday that revenues for the second quarter dropped 7 percent to $3.9 billion, and reported a profit of $605 million compared to $653 million in the same quarter a year earlier,

The cooperation between Teva and Alvotech will “accelerate the introduction and adoption of new biosimilar medicines for patients in the US market,” said Robert Wessman, Alvotech’s founder and chairman, in the statement.

This commercial partnership with Alvotech will enable Teva “to lend its technical expertise” in working with the US Food and Drug Administation, to bring products to the US market “while broadening its growing biosimilar portfolio and continuing to leverage its unique cross-functional expertise across both specialty and generic medicines,” said Brendan O’Grady, executive vice president and head of North America Commercial at Teva.

Under this partnership agreement, Alvotech will be responsible for the development, registration and supply of the biosimilars, while Teva will be exclusively commercializing the products in the US.

The agreement includes an upfront payment, with subsequent milestone payments over the next several years. Teva and Alvotech will share profit from the commercialization of the biosimilars. Other financial terms and product details were not disclosed.

Alvotech is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and manufacture of biosimilars for global markets. Its pipeline contains several monoclonal-antibody and fusion-protein biosimilar candidates aimed at treating autoimmunity, oncology, ophthalmology and inflammatory conditions, the statement said.

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