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Sandoz and Just-Evotec Biologics announce multi-year biosimilar partnership

Sandoz and Just-Evotec Biologics have announced a partnership aimed at developing and manufacturing multiple biosimilar candidates with an option for expansion.

The multi-year collaboration will grant Sandoz access to Just-Evotec Biologics’ proprietary drug substance development platform and manufacturing technology, which Sandoz will use to expand its current pipeline of biosimilars from 15 to about 24 candidates and develop its early-stage pipeline.

Under the terms of the agreement, Just-Evotec Biologics will receive a double-digit-million figure upfront and future payments of $640m dependent on successful development progress, as well as additional undisclosed payments based on progress into commercial manufacturing.

The Evotec subsidiary has said its team will support design, construction, onboarding and training of the Sandoz team to “fully realise the potential of the technology”.

Just-Evotec Biologics has developed what Sandoz describes as “an optimised proprietary ecosystem” for drug development and manufacturing. This includes an advanced continuous manufacturing process which “delivers enhanced quality and productivity in biologics production,” Sandoz said.

Richard Saynor, chief executive officer of Sandoz, said: “This strategic partnership is founded on a strong shared sense of purpose and commitment to use disruptive technology with lower operational costs to deliver high-quality biosimilars at scale to patients around the world.

“It provides us with additional capabilities to support the strategic expansion of our pipeline with new assets and to begin immediately transitioning our early biosimilar pipeline.”

Saynor added that the deal marks the most recent step towards Sandoz strengthening itself as a standalone company.

Also commenting on the collaboration, Dr Matthias Evers, chief business officer at Evotec, said: “With Sandoz’ recognised leadership in biosimilars development and commercialisation and our disruptive technology platform in the field of biologics development and manufacturing, this partnership has a chance to shift the paradigm of what it means to achieve access to lifesaving medicines.”

The deal comes just over a month after Sandoz’ high concentration formulation (HCF) of its biosimilar Hyrimoz (adalimumab) was approved by the European Commission. The HCF was approved in the US the month prior.

The approvals comprise all indications covered by the reference medicine, including rheumatic diseases, Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis, ulcerative colitis, uveitis and hidradenitis suppurativa.



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