In an unexpected move, Merck (MRK) scrapped plans to market a biosimilar version of the widely used Lantus insulin only a year after winning tentative U.S. regularly approval. The decision was disclosed in a regulatory filing by Samsung Bioepis, its development and commercialization partner, which noted Merck “suddenly” canceled their contract and returned $155 million.

Merck subsequently explained in a statement that the about-face was prompted after assessing the “anticipated pricing and cost of production.” Although Merck was also locked in patent litigation with Sanofi (SNY), which sells Lantus and had prevented a timely product launch, the move underscores the increasingly crowded insulin market confronting drug makers.

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