As drugmakers diversify into other businesses, another business is diversifying into drug-making. Samsung Electronics says it will sock $260 million into a joint venture with Quintiles, aiming to make copycat drugs by the first half of 2013 and biosimilars by 2016.
The joint venture plans to build a plant near Seoul, South Korea, where it first will produce biologic drugs on a contract basis. Later, the J.V. hopes to develop knock-offs of leading biotech meds such as Roche's blood-cancer drug Rituxan and Amgen's arthritis drug Enbrel.
Overall, Samsung targets 1.8 trillion won (about $1.6 billion) in annual biopharmaceuticals revenue by 2020, and it's planning to invest 2.1 trillion won, or $1.8 billion, into the sector to make that happen. About half that budget will go to developing biosimilars and the other half to building factories, EVP Kim Tae Han told Bloomberg. The company may set up another biosimilar joint venture later this year, Kim said.