Boehringer axes biosimilar development outside US; MacroGenics, China's Zai Labs join forces to develop I/O treatments
→ Germany’s Boehringer has elected to wash its hands off biosimilar development outside the United States. The decision likely comes in reaction to the painful patent battle with AbbVie $ABBV — the maker of the world’s best selling drug Humira, which last year raked in about $18.4 billion. Last year, Boehringer’s Humira copycat Cyltezo was the first to win EU approval and nabbed the runner-up approval in the United States. AbbVie’s tactics to prolong the life of its blockbuster in the United States succeeded to a degree, with a slate of biosimilar makers agreeing to delay their launches to 2023, but Boehringer continues to wrestle with AbbVie to launch Cyltezo sooner. Meanwhile, Humira biosimilars in Europe by firms such as Novartis $NVS, Mylan $MYL and Amgen $AMGN have been launched. Boehringer wants to focus its efforts entirely in the United States, the company said in a statement to Bioprocess Insider on Wednesday. “While Boehringer Ingelheim had planned to bring Cyltezo to patients in the EU, due to the patent litigation with AbbVie in the US, we will not commercialize our biosimilar in the EU,” a spokesperson said, adding that the company is also stopping biosimilar development activities for the rest of the world.
→ Another US biotech is joining hands with a Chinese outfit. Rockville, Maryland-based MacroGenics on Thursday secured $25 million upfront to collaborate and license three of its immuno-oncology programs with Shanghai-based Zai Lab $ZLAB. Under the deal, Zai Lab will gain the development and commercialization rights for the programs in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, and together, the two companies will also initiate a global study. MacroGenics is also eligible to receive up to $140 million in milestone payments.
→ Britain’s AstraZeneca $AZN is joining forces with Brussels-based molecular diagnostics company Biocartis to hasten biomarker results for lung cancer patients, using the latter’s Idylla platform.