[THE INVESTOR] Samsung Bioepis has denied reports on Sept. 20 that its drug license deal with the Korean unit of global drug maker MSD had been terminated because of lackluster sales here.
A local media outlet reported that MSD Korea decided to return the exclusive rights to market biosimilars Brenzys and Renflexis -- copy versions of Amgen’s blockbuster drug Enbrel and Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade.
“There have been no talks to discuss such matter. The market rumors have been circulating from early this year,” a Samsung Bioepis official told The Investor.
Lack of marketability, which resulted in slow sales growth, seems to be the reason behind the deal termination, the report said.
While the biosimilars are priced some 30 percent below the reference biological medicine in Europe, the price gap between the knock off and original therapies are less than 10 percent in Korea.
MSD Korea has been handling marketing and distribution of Brenzys and Renflexis since 2015 when the drugs were given final approvals here in accordance with a commercialization agreement signed in 2013 between the Korean biosimilar maker and Merck.
According to IMS Health Data, the prescription sales of Brenzys stood at 390 million won (US$346,000) in the first half of this year, accounting for 4.3 percent of Enbrel’s 8.98 billion won.
Renflexis, which was launched in April last year, posted sales of 6 million won in the same period.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)