Swedish Orphan Biovitrum and Dongbao, a biopharmaceutical specialist in China are to form an alliance to sell each other’s drugs in their respective territories.

The Stockholm-based group, which changed its name from Biovitrum last month (following the recent merger with Swedish Orphan), says it is getting access to the potentially vast Chinese market while Dongbao is getting a foothold in Europe. Also each party “gains access to a new portfolio of exciting products for its home markets” through the pact.

Initially, Dongbao will market SOBI’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Kineret (anakinra) and have the commercial rights to Kiobrina, a recombinant human bile-salt-stimulated lipase in late-stag development aimed at improving growth and development in preterm infants. In return, it will sell the Tonghua-headquartered firm’s iron sucrose product. A manufacturing alliance is also being discussed.

Martin Nicklasson, SOBI’s chief executive, said Dongbao has “a successful track record of selling high value biotechnology products in China” and “an impressive track record of success in regulatory affairs as well as in marketing and sales”. He added that the pact will help his firm “realise the significant opportunity for our products in the Chinese market”.