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Business deals

US-based Biogen raises stake in Samsung biopharma unit

Deal to strengthen South Korean company's drug development

South Korea's Samsung group looks to become a force in the biopharmaceutical development game.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- U.S. biopharmaceutical company Biogen will spend 759.5 billion won ($675 million) to boost its ownership of biosimilar developer Samsung Bioepis to nearly 50%, joint venture partner Samsung BioLogics said Tuesday.

In a deal to be concluded Wednesday, Biogen will acquire roughly 44% of Samsung Bioepis from the South Korean partner, increasing its interest to 50% minus 1 share. The U.S. company and contract biopharma maker Samsung BioLogics set up the joint venture in 2011, and Biogen is exercising the option to acquire additional shares granted at that time. 

The Samsung group has collaborated with Biogen in developing its contract drugmaking business. With construction of its third plant completed this October, Samsung BioLogics will now focus on more lucrative drug development. The closer relationship with Biogen will help bolster its research and development arm.

Biogen in turn fortifies its ties with a deep-pocketed partner, a key asset in a business where only one out of every 30,000 drug candidates is set to become a commercial success.

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