Merck and Samsung Bioepis expand collaboration


Companies will work together on clinical development, regulatory filings and manufacturing

Global pharmaceutical major Merck & Co. and Samsung Bioepis, a joint venture between Samsung Biologics and Biogen Idec, have expanded their collaboration to develop, manufacture and commercialise MK-1293, an insulin glargine candidate for the treatment of patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Phase III clinical studies in type 1 and type 2 diabetes are to begin soon. The drug the two companies are to develop jointly is a biosimilar of the diabetes drug insulin glargine, sold under the name Lantus by Sanofi-Aventis.

\'We look forward to collaborating with Samsung Bioepis on this insulin glargine candidate, as diabetes is a top priority for the company,\' said Matt Strasburger, senior vice president, Diabetes, Global Human Health, Merck.

\'Merck is strengthening its leadership in diabetes through our own work and in collaboration with others, and this agreement would help build our portfolio across the spectrum of the disease,\' he added.

Christopher Hansung Ko, CEO, Samsung Bioepis noted that the collaboration would bring better access to patients with diabetes worldwide. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies would collaborate on clinical development, regulatory filings and manufacturing. If approved, Merck would commercialise the candidate.

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The new collaboration builds on the agreement made by the two companies in February 2013, to develop and commercialise multiple biosimilar candidates.