AstraZeneca and Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics to collaborate on bevacizumab biosimilar

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Japanese biosimilars maker Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics announced on 24 July 2015 that it had entered into an agreement with pharma giant AstraZeneca to establish a joint venture for the development and commercialization of its candidate biosimilar, FKB238.

Shaking hands V13D29

FKB238 is a biosimilar version of Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab). Bevacizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody. It inhibits angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) by blocking the action of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Bevacizumab can therefore slow the growth of new blood vessels in tumours and is used to treat various cancers, including colorectal, lung, breast, glioblastoma, kidney and ovarian cancer.

The two companies have agreed to set up a 50:50 joint venture for the development of the bevacizumab biosimilar. Under the terms of the agreement, Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics will transfer the rights to FKB238 to the new joint venture and will receive a lump sum payment of US$45 million in return. The new company, which is yet to be named, will be located in the UK and is expected to start operation before the end of 2015. Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics started a phase I clinical trial for FKB238 in Europe in November 2014.

Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics was established back in 2012 as a joint venture between Japanese digital camera maker Fujifilm Corporation (Fujifilm) and biotech firm Kyowa Hakko Kirin (Kyowa) [1]. The company is also developing a biosimilar (FKB327) of Abbott’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira (adalimumab), for which it has started a phase III clinical trial in the US and other countries.

The patents on Avastin are set to expire in Europe in January 2022 and in the US in July 2019 [2]. The originator drug had 2014 sales of US$7.4 billion making it a popular target for biosimilar developers.

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Fujifilm and Kyowa launch biosimilars joint venture []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2015 Aug 21]. Available from:

2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. US$67 billion worth of biosimilar patents expiring before 2020 []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2015 Aug 21]. Available from:

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Source: Fujifilm Kyowa Kirin Biologics

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