Aurobindo acquires Veritaz and Formycon–ATHOS partnership

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In April 2022, Indian drugmaker, Aurobindo Pharma, acquired formulations business Veritaz. In addition, biosimilars specialist, Formycon, signed a partnership deal with ATHOS to merge development activities surrounding two biosimilars.

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Veritaz acquired by Aurobindo
The deal in which Aurobindo acquired Veritaz for circa US$22.6 million has taken effect as of April 2022. Aurobindo hopes to use this acquisition to launch into marketing biosimilars and other products in India. The transaction is being made on a debt-free cash-free basis.

In India, Veritaz sells branded generic formulations and other healthcare related products. The company has circa 180 trademarks of which 40 are marketed as anti-infective and pain management medications. It also has a pipeline of products to enter the cardio-diabetic, ortho and gynaecology segments and grossed sales of about US$16.8 million in 2021.

This deal comes after Aurobindo’s recent expansion into the Baltic regions of Europe [1]. It also follows a period of difficulty for the company in the US after the company had to recall some antibiotics and other products [2] and a warning letter was presented to its facility in Telangana, Hyderabad, India.

Formycon–ATHOS partnership
Formycon and ATHOS have signed a long-term partnership deal that will see them merge development activities surrounding biosimilars referencing Genentech’s Lucentis (ranibizumab) and Janssen’s Stelara (ustekinumab).

The two biosimilars, FYB201 (ranibizumab) and FYB202 (ustekinumab) are key monoclonal antibody treatments. Ranibizumab inhibits angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) and used to treat ophthalmic conditions, including neovascular (or wet) age-related macular degeneration, macular oedema, and diabetic retinopathy [3]. Ustekinumab interferes with the triggering of the body’s inflammatory response through the suppression of certain cytokines [4] and is indicated for the treatment of psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, including Crohn’s disease [5].

The deal will support Formycon’s existing development activities surrounding the two biosimilars and allow them to acquire additional rights to the biosimilars. Specifically, Formycon will have full commercialization, development and approval rights to FYB202, the ustekinumab biosimilar, and a 50% share in FYB201, the ranibizumab biosimilar. FYB201 has been co-developed with Bioeq and has already been submitted for approval in several regions [6, 7].

In addition, Formycon will acquire the operational development unit of Bioeq and the 50% shareholding that ATHOS has in Bioeq, which was created through a joint venture between ATHOS and Polpharma Biologics. Formycon will also have a 75.1% share of Aristo Pharma, a subsidiary of ATHOS.

ATHOS is set to receive approximately €650 million in transaction payments, including funds related new shares in Formycon and an earn-out component that will see ATHOS become Formycon’s largest shareholder, with a stake of almost 27% in the company. The transaction will likely be completed by mid-2022.

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Teva signs deal with Bioeq for ranibizumab biosimilar FYB201

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References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Orion CuraTeQ and Theramax-Enzene Biosciences partnerships [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 22]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/pharma-news/orion-curateq-and-theramax-enzene-biosciences-partnerships
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Carcinogen contamination halts distribution of generic Zantac [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 22]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/generics/general/Carcinogen-contamination-halts-distribution-of-generic-Zantac
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars of ranibizumab [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 22]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/Biosimilars-of-ranibizumab
4. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Clinical trials begin for ustekinumab biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 22]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/research/clinical-trials-begin-for-ustekinumab-biosimilars
5. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars of ustekinumab [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 22]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/general/biosimilars-of-ustekinumab
6. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Bioeq submits application for ranibizumab biosimilar to FDA [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 22]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/news/bioeq-submits-application-for-ranibizumab-biosimilar-to-fda
7. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Formycon/Bioeq submit European marketing authorization for ranibizumab biosimilar [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2022 Apr 22]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/biosimilars/news/formycon-bioeq-submit-european-marketing-authorization-for-ranibizumab-biosimilar

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