Coherus BioSciences has divested Yusimry (adalimumab-aqvh), a biosimilar to AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis therapy Humira, to Hong Kong King-Friend Industrial (HKF) in an all cash deal of $40m.

The moves come as Coherus plans to become an oncology-only focused company. To that end, the company also sold its ophthalmology portfolio to Sandoz for $170m in January. The sale included Cimerli (ranibizumab-eqrn), a biosimilar to Roche’s Lucentis, which has been approved for a variety of retinal indications including wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular oedema, and diabetic retinopathy.

Following the deal conclusion, HKF’s US subsidiary, Meitheal Pharmaceuticals will have exclusive commercial rights to Yusimry in the US. The companies have invested in expanding their biologics portfolio and capabilities in recent years. In September 2023, Meitheal acquired the US rights to three insulin biosimilars from China-based Tonghua Dongbao Pharmaceutical. The US approval for these biosimilars is expected in 2026.

Yusimry is a tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blocker and has been approved for nine indications – to reduce the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis, and to treat Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, plaque psoriasis, hidradenitis suppurativa, and uveitis. Meitheal also plans to develop paediatric presentations and a high concentration (100mg/mL) formulation of Yusimry.

Humira was a blockbuster drug for AbbVie, having generated $187bn in sales from 2002, when it was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to 2023. However, the drug’s revenue declined by 31.9% last year, compared to the previous year, per the AbbVie’s 2023 financials. The decline was attributed to biosimilar competition.

Despite the declining sales, GlobalData forecasts AbbVie to remain a market leader, and Yusimry to have global sales of $436m in 2025. Despite the expected cost savings, Humira biosimilars are expected to face market resistance in the US due to insurers’ contracting practices, and the reluctance to use them amongst some doctors and patients.

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Coherus’ oncology portfolio consists of a Loqtorzi (toripalimab-tpzi), anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) monoclonal antibody, and Udenyca (pegfilgrastim-cbqv), a biosimilar of Amgen’s Neulasta, a pegylated growth colony-stimulating factor indicated to treat febrile neutropenia. The company licenced these therapies from Shanghai Junshi Biosciences.