Swedish Orphan and Dongbao in Cross-licensing Deal

Stockholm-based Swedish Orphan Biovitrum and Chinese firm Dongbao intend to form a strategic commercial alliance, whereby the former would be the marketing and sales partner of choice for Dongbao’s pipeline of biopharmaceuticals and other drugs in Europe and the latter would be the reciprocal partner for SOB’s marketed and pipeline products in China.

The alliance would be a partnership where both parties will benefit in two ways. First, each party secures a marketing and sales partner for its own products in an important new territory, China in the case of SOB and Europe in the case of Dongbao. Second, each party gains access to a new portfolio of products for its home markets.

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The companies also announced that they intend to complete the first stage of the commercial alliance by completing ongoing negotiations regarding the following products:

• Iron Sucrose from Dongbao where SOB will be the exclusive marketing and sales partner in Europe for this product; and
• Kineret (anakinra) and the late stage development project Kiobrina, a recombinant human bile-salt-stimulated lipase aimed at improving growth and development in preterm infants, from SOB where Dongbao will be the exclusive marketing and sales partner in China for these products. Kineret, for which Biovitrum in-licensed the world-wide rights from Amgen, is an anticytokine protein drug given together with methotrexate to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Will also expand collaboration on manufacturing services

SOB, the result of an around $490 million acquisition of Swedish Orphan by Biovitrum last year (The Pharma Letter November 5, 2009) intends to deepen its collaboration with Dongbao, including its affiliate Rechon Life Science Group, as regards manufacturing services.

The alliance will address current pharmaceutical market trends in both China and Europe. The Chinese pharmaceutical market is large and rapidly growing. It is also becoming more and more receptive to high value, innovative products that meet significant unmet medical needs. Thus, SOB’s products are a good fit with the strong and growing high value, specialty segment of the Chinese market. Similarly, the “Biosuperior” segment of the European pharmaceutical market is rapidly growing. Again, this makes market entry in Europe for Dongbao’s portfolio of Biosuperiors timely and in-line with regional trends, the companies note.

Martin Nicklasson, chief executive of SOB, stated: “We are very pleased to have identified a partner in Dongbao with a successful track record of selling high value biotechnology products in China. Dongbao has a deep understanding of biotechnology products from a manufacturing and clinical development perspective. Moreover, they have an impressive track record of success in regulatory affairs as well as in marketing and sales. Thus, we see Dongbao as the perfect partner to help Swedish Orphan Biovitrum to realize the significant opportunity for our products in the Chinese market.”

Zhaoqi Li, vice president of Dongbao Enterprise Group and the chairman of Rechon Life Science Group, commented: “A fast growing Chinese market is now offering great opportunity for innovative and high value pharmaceutical products. We admire Swedish Orphan Biovitrum’s remarkable efforts and achievements in the development of specialist pharmaceutical products for rare diseases. We will contribute, with the best of our effort, to the successful introduction of Swedish Orphan Biovitrum’s product into the Chinese market as well as into the emerging markets where Dongbao/Rechon already have a strong network established.” He added: “Partnership has always been important for Dongbao’s business success.”


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