Samsung Biologics, Pfizer expand biosimilar production partnership with pair of deals worth $897M

With Pfizer set this month to launch its biosimilar version of AbbVie’s mega-blockbuster Humira, the company has expanded its partnership with Samsung Biologics, which will produce biosimilars for the pharma giant at its sprawling complex in South Korea.

Samsung said on Monday that Pfizer had added $486 million to two biosimilar production agreements the companies had made earlier this year.

Pfizer acknowledged the “strategic partnership” for the company’s “multi-product biosimilars portfolio,” but provided no further comment.

Last month, Pfizer and Samsung signed a contract for the CDMO to produce biosimilar drugs in the fields of immunology, oncology and inflammation. And in March, the companies hooked up on a deal of $193 million, according to a regulatory filing.

The June agreement, now worth $704 million, is the largest single contract Samsung Biologics has signed, the 12-year-old company said, topping a previous high of $360 million in a deal with AstraZeneca. The Pfizer contracts run through 2029.

Samsung’s contracts signed this year add up to $1.48 billion, already exceeding the business the rapidly growing company executed last year.

Work for Pfizer will be conducted in Samsung’s Plant 4 in Incheon, which was due for completion last month, the company said. Earlier this year, the company said it was starting construction on its $1.46 billion Plant 5, the first of four manufacturing buildings at its Bio Campus II.

Other deals Samsung has made this year with Big Pharma players include a $177 million pact with Eli Lilly in March, a $27 million agreement with GSK in February and an $11 million commitment with Roche in June.

For its part, Pfizer is among several drugmakers set to launch their biosimilar versions of Humira, which racked up $21.2 billion in sales last year. Pfizer has high hopes for Abrilada, which is under review from the FDA to gain a valuable “interchangeable” designation. Boehringer Ingelheim just launched its own Cyltezo, the first interchangeable Humira biosimilar available in the U.S.

Pfizer's biosimilar portfolio also features copycats to Roche’s cancer trio of Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin plus versions of Johnson & Johnson's Remicade and Amgen’s Neupogen.