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Biogen (BIIB) Quietly Registered Biogen Korea in South Korea Last Month



8/14/2017 6:00:55 AM

Biogen Quietly Registered Biogen Korea LLC in South Korea Last Month August 14, 2017
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

SEOUL, South Korea – Biogen is reportedly looking to expand its toehold in South Korea. In July, the Boston-based pharma giant registered Biogen Korea to allow the company to take greater charge of its business in that country.


This morning Yonhap News Agency, South Korea’s largest news group, first reported Biogen’s new business entity that is expected to provide Biogen with a more direct control over its business interests there. That’s not to say that Biogen doesn’t have a presence in South Korea. In 2012, the company forged a business entity in partnership with Samsung Biologics Co. The two companies created Samsung Bioepis Co. Biogen owns about a 5 percent stake in that company and has the option to increase that stake even more by the end of 2018, according to The Investor, a U.K. publication that cited The Korea Herald.

The Korea Herald noted that Frederick Lawson will helm the Biogen Korea business. He has served as chief of the company’s Biogen Switzerland operation.

The move to establish the new South Korean entity comes on the heels of Biogen seeking regulatory approval in that country for its spinal muscular atrophy drug, Spinraza. Biogen is attempting to gain South Korean approval for the drug with partner Synex, The Investor reported.

The U.S.- approved spinal atrophy drug is the first drug ever approved for the disease in the United States. It was approved here in late 2016 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Spinraza is the only treatment in the United States approved for SMA, a leading genetic cause of death in infants and toddlers that is marked by progressive, debilitating muscle weakness. Spinraza is an antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) that is designed to alter the splicing of SMN2, a gene that is nearly identical to SMN1. Biogen co-developed Spinraza with Ionis Pharmaceuticals (IONS). Spinraza is also approved in Europe. South Korean regulatory officials have fast-tracked Spinraza, The Korea Herald said.
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SMA is a disorder characterized by loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and lower brain stem. This results in severe and progressive muscular atrophy and weakness. Over time, patients with the most severe form of SMA can become paralyzed and have difficulty in breathing and swallowing. Patients with SMA do not produce enough survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, which is caused by a defect in the SMN1 gene.

With the establishment of a South Korean business, Biogen will be looking to develop, produce, manufacture and import or export pharmaceutical products in South Korea, the U.K.’s The Investor reported.


Read at BioSpace.com


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