Novartis’ subsidiary, Sandoz, has set its sights on developing a biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson’s anti-inflammatory drug, Stelara, as part of a collaborative effort with Samsung Bioepis. The move signals a strategic investment by Sandoz into the rapidly expanding biosimilar market, offering lower-cost alternatives to complex biotech drugs that have lost their patent protection.
Samsung Bioepis has made significant progress in the clinical development of the Stelara biosimilar, and as a result, Sandoz has secured commercialization rights for the product in the United States, Canada, and a majority of European countries. While the financial terms of this collaboration remain confidential, the implications are significant for Sandoz’s future prospects in the biosimilar arena.
Sandoz’s CEO, Richard Saynor, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “This deal will further strengthen our immunology patient offering and means we now have five potential high-value upcoming biosimilar launches over the next few years.” The biosimilar market represents a promising avenue for Sandoz to enhance its profitability.
Stelara, the target of this biosimilar development, is utilized in the treatment of various autoimmune disorders, including Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.
For Sandoz, the emphasis on biosimilars is integral to its strategy to improve profitability. The Swiss pharmaceutical company has noted that its adjusted core profit margin is likely to be in the range of 18-19% for the current year, a slight decrease from 21.3% in 2022. This dip is attributed to higher marketing expenses and cost inflation. However, Sandoz is optimistic about the future, with projections indicating that its profit margin may reach an impressive 24% to 26% by 2028.
The impending spin-off of Sandoz from Novartis is set to be decided by Novartis shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting scheduled for September 15, with the first day of independent trading planned for October 4. This strategic move underlines Sandoz’s commitment to pioneering biosimilars and bolstering its presence in the competitive pharmaceutical market.