Boehringer to launch biosimilars unit

Boehringer Ingelheim last week said it is launching a business unit for developing and commercializing its own biosimilar products. By having this dedicated in-house focus, B-I will likely enhance its contract manufacturing arm with additional capabilities over time.

As evidence of its biotech expertise, the German company has already launched 19 DNA-derived biopharmaceutical products, according to Frost & Sullivan. That's one of the reasons the market-watcher recently bestowed the 2011 Frost & Sullivan Europe Competitive Strategy Leadership Award in Bio Pharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing to the drugmaker.

"The biggest competitive assets of B-I include its strong R&D portfolio with a well-defined in-house biologics pipeline," says research analyst Aiswariya Chidambaram, via email. That pipeline spans "key therapeutic areas and the proprietary technologies for the development of high-titer processes and high-throughput screening methods in mammalian and microbial contract manufacturing."

Among B-I's biopharma credits are inflammatory-disease treatment Enbrel, for Amgen and Pfizer/Wyeth; respiratory infection drug Synagis, for MedImmune; multiple sclerosis treatment Betaferon/Betaseron, for Bayer Health Care; and cancer treatment Erbitux, for Merck Serono.

- see the Boehringer biosimilars release
- here's the Frost & Sullivan award announcement