Recent reportage from Global Data Research and Clinical Trials Arena has ranked the world’s leading biopharma companies best positioned to take advantage of future biosimilars disruption. The ranking considers the number of jobs listed by each company mentioning biosimilars, deals conducted, and company filing mentions in the period between January and December 2021. All five companies listed below received a rating of ‘five’, the highest available. This ranking is not based on biosimilars sales figures.
While Pfizer has reaped enormous financial rewards from its COVID-19 vaccine, developed by BioNTech (vaccine profits estimated at USD 36 billion for 2021) the company also has a strong footprint in biosimilars, advertising 101 biosimilar jobs in 2021, concluding one deal, and making 80 biosimilar filings.
The company’s biosimilars brought in USD 575 million in Q3 2021 (a 34 percent operational growth on the previous year), primarily driven by recent oncology monoclonal antibody biosimilar launches of Ruxience (rituximab), Zirabev (bevacizumab) and Trazimera (trastuzumab), as well as continued growth from Retacrit (epoetin) in the US.
For more on Pfizer’s “opportunistic” biosimilars strategy, including what the Upjohn spinoff means for it, see Tony Hagen’s piece in the Center for Biosimilars here.
Korean firm Samsung Bioepis, part of the giant Samsung group, brands itself as “a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to unlocking the potential of biosimilar medicines and transforming the way biologic therapies are brought to patients. Our mission is reflected in our name, bio-epis; literally meaning life (“bio”) and science (“episteme”) in Greek. We want to enhance the lives of patients through our pioneering and innovative use of science and technology.” In January 2022, Samsung splashed out USD 2.3 billion to acquire Biogen’s stake in Samsung Bioepis.
US Amgen advertised 108 biosimilars jobs in 2021 and made 300 biosimilar filings. With biosimilar revenues set to reach USD two billion for 2021 and USD four billion in revenues being targeted by 2030, biosimilars look set to remain a key part of Amgen’s strategy for years to come.
When PharmaBoardroom spoke to Alper Ureten, Amgen’s VP and GM for its biosimilars business unit back in 2020, he told us that “Having an innovative portfolio alongside a biosimilars portfolio offers a very unique point of view. Many of our innovative products are actually facing competition from biosimilars. Having both portfolios tightly integrated actually allows us to obtain a dual perspective, both from navigating the IP landscape, all the way to commercialisation on both sides of the business. Through this model, we can create a symbiotic relationship, leveraging the learnings from one side to aid the other.”
Faced with lower-than-expected uptake of its controversial Alzheimer’s Disease drug Aduhelm, Biogen has recently moved to sell off its USD 2.3 billion stake in biosimilars firm Samsung Bioepis, although it has retained the right to a number of biosimilars. In 2021, the firm advertised 299 biosimilars jobs, made one deal, and made 264 filings.
Speaking to PharmaBoardroom last year, MD of Biogen Switzerland Katharina Gasser noted that Biogen is “collaborating with other companies and stakeholders to change the perception around biosimilars. We want biosimilars to be seen as a high-quality addition to healthcare that creates savings and therefore room for innovation.
She added, “we work hard to increase the overall biosimilar share and make it better known that Biogen – not a typical biosimilars company – is present in this segment. Because of our atypical profile, it can be even more challenging for us than for others!”
Swiss giant Novartis listed 406 positions mentioning biosimilars in 2021, as well as making 119 filings mentioning the topic. Via its generic and biosimilar arm Sandoz, the company brands itself as “a global leader in biosimilars with eight marketed molecules and a strong portfolio of 15+ assets.”