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General

Biosimilars in 2016: the highlights

Previous years have been momentous for the biosimilars industry and 2016 is no exception [1]. Important milestones achieved during 2016 were the biosimilar approvals of Inflectra (infliximab-dyyb), Erelzi (etanercept-szzs) and Amjevita (adalimumab-atto) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

EMA to launch pilot for tailored advice on biosimilars development

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) announced on 16 December 2016 that it is planning to provide sponsors with tailored scientific advice on the development of biosimilars as part of a pilot programme that will be launched in February 2017.

Biosimilars approved in Europe

Last update: 3 February 2017

In the European Union (EU), a legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2003. This framework means that biosimilars can only be approved centrally via the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and not nationally.

EC publishes improved biosimilars information for patients

On 23 January 2017, the European Commission (EC) published a unique question and answer (Q&A) document for patients containing reliable information on biosimilar medicines.

European IBD specialists support switching to biosimilars

The European Crohn’s and Colitis Organization (ECCO) has published results of a consensus meeting held on 15 October 2016 in Vienna, Austria in which they support switching from reference infliximab to biosimilar infliximab [1].

European oncologists back biosimilars with position paper

On 16 January 2017, the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) published a position paper on biosimilars saying that ‘biosimilars create opportunities for sustainable cancer care’ [1].

Biosimilars applications under review by EMA – December 2016

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is the body responsible for approval of biosimilars within the European Union (EU). A legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2003. Approval of biosimilars is based on an abbreviated registration process, which allows biosimilars manufacturers to provide a reduced package of information compared to originator drugs, provided they can prove ‘similarity’ to the originator or reference drug.

Biosimilars approved in Australia

Last update: 13 January 2017

In Australia, the legal framework for approving medicines was established via the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

Biosimilars of trastuzumab

Last update: 6 January 2017

Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that interferes with the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)/neu receptor. In some cancers, notably certain types of breast cancer, HER2 is over-expressed, and causes cancer cells to reproduce uncontrollably. Trastuzumab is therefore used to treat certain breast cancers.

Biosimilars of infliximab

Last update: 6 January 2017

Infliximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody against tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). It is used to treat autoimmune diseases, such as ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ulcerative colitis.