Samsung plans ambitious rollout of biosims at deep discounts

Samsung BioLogics is moving fast with some ambitious plans to start marketing biosmilars at a deep discount while striking more development deals like the one it has with Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and ramping up its own work on novel biologics. And it's betting that its global rep in the electronics market and construction industry will help make the conglomerate a leading contender in the biopharma business.

Samsung, better known for flat screen TV sets than therapeutics, tells the Financial Times that it will put the finishing touches to its manufacturing site outside of Seoul by June, with plans to have global regulatory sanctions in place by the end of this year. That would set the stage for Samsung and its partner Biogen Idec to have a slate of biosimilars ready to market in 2015, and it plans to offer generic antibodies at half the current price they're available.

"Biopharmaceutical companies are good for sales, and biotech companies for innovation, but neither is good for manufacturing," Tae-Han Kim, the president of Samsung BioLogics, tells the Financial Times. "It is in Samsung's DNA to produce products at low prices while meeting legal and industry requirements. The price of monoclonal antibodies is very expensive and not affordable to all patients. That is a heavy burden on governments and [healthcare] payers."

The article doesn't make clear exactly where Samsung will offer deep discounts. But for the U.S. market, analysts have been projecting far more modest discounts of about 10% to 20%. A 50% discount would represent a much greater challenge to drugmakers.

The FT also just drops word of Samsung's plans to develop new therapies at the end of the story, with no explanation of what it plans to focus on.

- here's the article from the Financial Times