Samsung Bioepis filed a lawsuit last month in the UK seeking to stop AbbVie from blocking the launch of a biosimilar version of Humira (adalimumab) in the country. Although the composition patent for Humira expires in Europe in October 2018, AbbVie has been submitting new patents in a bid to delay competition from biosimilars.
“We believe that AbbVie has been attempting to obstruct market entry of competing products by applying for a large number of overlapping patents around Humira, which could affect patient access to affordable medication,” Samsung Bioepis said. “We believe competition should take place in the market, and not through such misuse of the patent system,” the company added.
Samsung Bioepis, a venture between Samsung Group and Biogen, has a pipeline of 13 biosimilars and launched its first drug last year in South Korea, a version of Amgen’s Enbrel (etanercept). Samsung Bioepis is prioritising the development of six drugs in its pipeline, something HMC Investment & Securities analyst Kang Yang-ku said “is the right strategy to go with,” as “the first drug to hit the market takes the most market share.”
Humira generated sales of $14 billion last year, with AbbVie earning 61 percent of its net revenue from the product. The drugmaker indicated that it was aware of the lawsuit filed by Samsung Bioepis, adding “as we have said, we intend to defend our intellectual property.”