Catalent inks a biosimilar alliance with a Chinese drugmaker

Catalent President of Advanced Drug Delivery Technologies Barry Littlejohns

Catalent has signed a deal to lend its biologics development technology to China's Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals and help the drugmaker get working on copies of some top-selling drugs.

Under the agreement, Catalent will supply its GPEx platform for the creation of mammalian cell lines, which Hisun will use to craft knockoffs of biologics including Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Remicade, AbbVie's ($ABBV) Humira and Sanofi's ($SNY) Lemtrada, the companies said.

Catalent says its system can get biologics projects into the clinic three times faster than other approaches, and licensing it to Hisun expands the New Jersey company's presence in the growing Chinese market, said Barry Littlejohns, Catalent's president of advanced drug delivery technologies.

"We are keen to grow our biologics and development customer base throughout the Asia-Pacific region and intend to extend our global leadership in advanced delivery technologies and expert services throughout the region," Littlejohns said in a statement. "We believe that the GPEx technology will enable Hisun to bring its products to market faster."

The deal is part of Catalent's recent efforts to broaden its share of the Chinese market, following two joint ventures launched last year and an acquisition of the majority of Zhejiang Jiang Yuan Tang Biotechnology, a softgel specialist based in Haining.

Meanwhile, Catalent is queuing up to go public in a planned $100 million IPO, cash it would use to pay down debt and fund general corporate purposes.

- read the statement