Merck BioVentures, the biosimilars endeavor set up by Merck & Co. in late 2008, is being subsumed into the biologics and vaccines division of Merck Research Laboratories. Mike Kamarck, who has led BioVentures since 2010, has left the company.
Biosimilars may indeed be a new kind of innovation, one that brand-focused biologics companies would be foolish to discount and one that many seem to be tripping over themselves to embrace (see Amgen/Watson, Baxter/Momenta, Biogen/Samsung).
Merck's move to reduce its BioVentures group at least in stature seems to raise doubts on its attitudes toward biosimilars and is at odds with the bullish attitude of groups like Novartis' Sandoz unit, which just this week predicted incredible growth for its own biosimilars business. That said, it’s hard to say whether this retrenchment will be part of the long-term learning process or bigger strategic shift, as the whole field is in the midst of an evolution and successful business models have yet to fully materialize.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Apr 27th 2012.