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Bristol-Myers, Chinese company expand partnership

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Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has expanded an alliance with Simcere Pharmaceutical Group to develop and market a medicine treating rheumatoid arthritis in China.

Bristol-Myers’ drug, Orencia SC, already is available in the United States, Europe and Japan.

The agreement, announced today, expands a strategic relationship the two companies formed in 2010. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Under terms of the agreement, China-based Simcere will perform and fund all development and regulatory activities required to obtain market approval for Orencia SC in China based on a pre-agreed development plan. If it is approved, the drug could become Bristol-Myers’ first biologic medicine for the Chinese market, according to Beatrice Cazala, executive vice president of commercial operations for Bristol-Myers.

The companies will share responsibility for commercializing the drug, and will share profits and losses related to Orencia SC in China.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues, often affecting hands and feet. It also can affect organs.

Orencia SC marks the third program in the R&D collaboration between Simcere and Princeton-based Bristol-Myers. Cazala said the latest agreement with Simcere expands the two companies’ partnership, which initially focused on early development drugs, to one that also focuses on clinical development and commercialization on an existing product.

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