Sandoz has entered an agreement for the acquisition of the CIMERLI ophthalmology franchise from Coherus BioSciences.

This move is aimed at bolstering the company’s ophthalmology portfolio in the US market.

The deal comprises an upfront cash payment of $170m and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved biosimilar CIMERLI, as well as its accompanying commercial infrastructure.

The acquisition also includes product inventory, a biologics licence application and a team specialised in ophthalmology sales and field re-imbursement.

Sandoz will also gain access to proprietary commercial software, further enhancing its capabilities in the sector.

CIMERLI, available in injection forms of 0.3mg and 0.5mg solutions, is a biosimilar to the reference product LUCENTIS, which is indicated to treat the retinal diseases wet age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macular oedema, macular oedema following retinal vein occlusion, myopic choroidal neovascularisation and diabetic retinopathy.

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As an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor therapy, CIMERLI plays a crucial role in aiding patients with retinal conditions to maintain or enhance their vision.

The FDA’s approval of CIMERLI in August 2022 followed a thorough evaluation confirming its biosimilarity to LUCENTIS in terms of safety, efficacy and quality.

Since its market launch in October 2022, the therapy has been the only FDA-approved biosimilar interchangeable with the reference product for all its indications.

Pending customary conditions and regulatory approvals, the transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2024.

Sandoz North America president Keren Haruvi stated: “I am pleased that we can add another high-value product to the growing Sandoz biosimilar portfolio, further strengthening our existing ophthalmology franchise.

“The addition of CIMERLI reinforces our commitment to biosimilars and represents a huge step towards our goal of pioneering patient access to more affordable and much-needed medicines in the US.”