AstraZeneca unit looking at biosimilars, no comment on Celltrion

LONDON Thu Aug 1, 2013 5:35am EDT

LONDON Aug 1 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca is looking at ways to leverage its capacity to make biotech drugs within its MedImmune unit, including a possible move into so-called biosimilars, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Pascal Soriot declined to comment, however, on whether he might be interested in acquiring a biosimilars business such as South Korea's Celltrion.

"We have strong capabilities at MedImmune in biologics and essentially what we are doing is looking if we can further leverage those capabilities in a biosimlar or bio-superior world," he told reporters.

Shares in Celltrion rose earlier this week on rumours of AstraZeneca's interest in the company.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters late on Wednesday that the sale of a controlling stake in Celltrion is still in its starting stages and has not yet produced concrete bidder names.

Celltrion got European backing for its biosimilar copycat version of the blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade in June, after its founder said he would seek a buyer among multinational drug makers for his controlling interest in the firm.

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