UCB and Japanese partner Otsuka announced to end the collaboration in the area of immunology, but continue in collaborate in CNS. UCB will build on its Japanese immunology franchise to bring Cimzia to the Japanese market.
The decision to stop the collaboration in Japan for immunology follows Otsuka's increased focus on CNS and oncology. Since 2010, Otsuka is commercializing E Kepprain Japan, and filed last month the marketing authorisation dossier of rotigotine (Neupro patch) for Parkinson’s and RLS. Otsuka remains dedicated to these CNS products and continues to investigate additional investigations.
The most imminent consequence of the discontinued immunology collaboration (which foresees a transition period) is that UCB is now solely in charge of the Japanese filing and commercialization of Cimzia. UCB reiterated its guidance of filing the regulatory dossier in 1Q12 with potential approval somewhere in 2013. This should allow UCB to build a strong(er) commercial Japanese presence to support the launch of Cimzia, and we understand the company keeps its options open to partner for co-promotion.
UCB sticks to the timeline of filing Cimzia in Japan in 1Q12. As the review time for new drugs can easily take ~1.5 years in Japan, UCB should have sufficient time to build its own immunology franchise and/or seek for another co-promotion partner. This will require some investments, but can build on company’s current presence in Japan.
The discontinuation allows UCB to get a tighter footprint in Japan (still one of the most lucrative pharmaceutical markets). Moreover, it has an opportunity to better control the Japanese commercial process of one of it lead products where geographical and label expansion are crucial in achieving the € 1.5bn peak sales target. Lastly, in the new setting, UCB can now retain more of the sales earnings down the road.
No changes to € 34 TP and Accumulate rating.