Biogen $BIIB was pretty careful when it allied with Samsung Bioepis back in 2011 — when George Scangos was CEO — taking a small minority stake in the company as it dipped its toe into biosimilar waters.
Today, though, Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos is diving in deep, picking up an option to become nearly an equal partner on the venture.
Biogen has agreed to pay $700 million to boost its stake in the biosimilars venture to 49.9% — marking one of the more substantial plays analysts have been looking for.
Biogen openly flagged this decision back in May, helping Samsung as it was under stress. Samsung has become one of the big players in biologic copycats, rolling out several knockoffs in recent years, while also signaling its interest in getting involved in more innovative drug development programs.
“We are very pleased with the progress made to date at Samsung Bioepis and believe exercising this option is an opportunity to create meaningful value for our shareholders,” said Vounatsos. “This option allows us to increase our ownership share in a leading biosimilar company at what we believe are attractive terms. We look forward to building an important relationship with Samsung BioLogics.”
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