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Samsung Bioepis launches half-priced Soliris biosimilar

April 1, 2024 - 16:36 By Shim Woo-hyun
Epysqli, a Soliris biosimilar developed by Samsung Bioepis (Samsung Bioepis)

Samsung Bioepis, a biosimilar developer under Samsung Group, announced Monday that the company decided to launch its Soliris biosimilar Epysqli in Korea at a price nearly 50 percent cheaper than the original drug.

Epysqli is a biosimilar referencing Soliris, a high-cost drug for the treatment of rare hematological disorders, developed by Alexion Pharmaceuticals. As of 2022, the drug generated global sales of approximately 5 trillion won ($3.7 billion). The global rights to Soliris are currently held by AstraZeneca, which acquired Alexion in 2020.

The indications for Soliris include paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS), and neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD). In South Korea, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety approved Epysqli to treat only PNH and aHUS.

According to Samsung Bioepis, the price for a vial of Epysqli here has been decided at 2.5 million won, around half the price of Soliris, 5.1 million won.

Samsung Bioepis anticipated that the price cut would increase the availability of one of the most expensive treatments. The amount of money an adult patient pays for Soliris is known to reach some 400 million won per year.

“Samsung Bioepis tried to maximize the value of its biosimilar business through providing the high-end drug at a much lower price so that it could be available to as many patients as possible,” Samsung Bioepis CEO Koh Han-seung said. “The price cut is also expected to help the government save on national health expenditure.”

The Drug Ministry approved Epysqli in January. Samsung Bioepis will be responsible for marketing and distribution of the drug, and the company plans to launch support programs for patients who receive Epysqli.

Samsung Bioepis has been selling Epysqli in European countries, including Germany, France and Italy, since last year.