Would Teva buy Korea's Celltrion to beef up in biosimilars? It wouldn't say no

Teva

Earlier this month, Teva agreed to pick up U.S. and Canadian rights to a pair of biosims from Korea’s Celltrion. But it might not stop with just two.

The generics giant may consider purchasing the Korean drugmaker itself, a Teva spokesman told Korean news source The Investor.

“We will continue to investigate such opportunities as we balance risk and seek complementary skills in our partners,” he said.

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FiercePharma!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FiercePharma as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on drugs and the companies that make them. Sign up today to get pharma news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

It’s not the first time the idea has come up. Back in early 2014, when Celltrion was planning to sell a controlling stake in the company, Teva’s name popped up in deal rumors--along with those of peers AstraZeneca and Roche.

Why all the interest? Celltrion’s biosim plans are beginning to come to fruition. Along with partner Pfizer, it already boasts an FDA-approved copy of Johnson & Johnson blockbuster Remicade waiting for the green light to launch in the U.S.

And there’s more where that came from. It’s working on versions of Roche oncology giants Rituxan and Herceptin, too--and it granted Teva North American rights to those biosims in a $160 million pact sealed in early October.

Teva CEO Erez Vigodman in particular has highlighted biosimilars as a key component of the Israeli drugmaker's strategy. But the company has already struck out once in the field: In 2013, one-time biosim partner Lonza backed out of the pair’s 2009 agreement after development and marketing costs piled up.

Meanwhile, Vigodman has also been talking up branded buys since Teva wrapped up its $40 billion Allergan generics buyout. Teva will be looking out for “attractive specialty assets, or branded drug assets or pipeline assets” that fit in with the therapeutic areas it’s already tackling, including pain, neurodegenerative disease and respiratory disorders, Vigodman said in August. 

Related Articles:
Teva ponies up $160M-plus for marketing rights to Celltrion's Rituxan, Herceptin biosims
Teva shares rival Mylan's pain as both hit two-year lows
How can Teva buck industry trends for 5% yearly generics growth? Launches--and lots of them
Can Celltrion's Remicade biosim repeat its EU market-share steal in the U.S.?
Roche, Teva and AstraZeneca are all said to be in the mix to buy Celltrion
Teva, Lonza end biosimilars joint venture as the copycat crowd thins

Suggested Articles

FDA officials say Novartis took too long to launch a formal probe into allegations of Zolgensma data manipulation.

Should Johnson & Johnson owe billions to fix Oklahoma's opioid crisis? After weeks of trial testimony, a judge will have his say Monday afternoon.

After Endo and Allergan agreed to settle with two Ohio counties on opioid charges this week, the state’s AG has a message: You’re not off the hook.