Viropro, Inc. To Unlock Value From Its Biosimilars Portfolio
Viropro, Inc. creates a technology subsidiary to focus on the burgeoning International market for biosimilar drug therapeutics. Over the past year, several of the large pharmas have tied up with Contract Research Organizations (CROs) and/or with Contract Manufacturing Organizations (CMOs) to enter the field of biosimilars. With the US FDA publishing guidelines for biosimilar approvals earlier this year, and guidelines already in existence in the European Union, this activity has taken a leap forward as companies jostle for position to capture parts of what is expected to be lucrative, multi-billion dollar annuities for years to come. According to a Frost & Sullivan report (PharmaTimes, U.K., May 11, 2012), the European biosimilars market is forecast to grow to $3.99 billion in 2017 from $172 million in 2010. That is equivalent to compound growth of 56.7% a year. The expiration of patents for blockbuster biologics is expected to drive the growth.
Viropro International, Inc. (VPI), a 100% subsidiary of Viropro, Inc., will house Viropro, Inc.’s biosimilar technologies and associated technical developments for the purpose of commercialization through external partnerships. The starting line-up and portfolio consists of sophisticated biosimilar molecules such as Ranibizumab (biosimilar of Lucentis®), Trastuzumab (-Herceptin®), Rituximab (-Rituxan®), Bevacizumab (-Avastin®), Infliximab (-Remicade®) and Etanercept (-Enbrel®). It is from this portfolio that Viropro signed a Letter of Agreement with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for Rituximab, and is in active discussions with potential clients for its other biosimilar technologies. (“®” are registered trademarks of their respective owners.)
For client development contracts where Viropro would take a process from the basic clone through to clinical production, Viropro estimates the combined, aggregate realizable value of its biosimilars portfolio to be in the range of $33 million to $42 million, depending upon market dynamics of the individual products.
Dr. Datar, President & CEO of Viropro, Inc. draws the following distinction in advancing such a set up: Viropro International, Inc., located in Montreal, Canada, currently licenses certain technologies developed at the renowned Biotechnology Research Institute (BRI) in Montreal, and enjoys a close working relationship with BRI. It thus makes sense for Viropro, Inc. to concentrate its technology development activity through VPI. Viropro, Inc. will continue to focus on developing a global, one-stop shop for “Biotech Contract Services,” irrespective of the type of molecule that is being developed for its clients. VPI, on the other hand, allows Viropro, Inc. to unlock the value of the Company’s biosimilars portfolio without interfering with Viropro, Inc.’s contract services operations. Dr. Datar additionally notes this is an exciting time to be positioning the Company’s efforts on establishing partnerships in two fast growing sectors of biotechnology – contract services and biosimilars.