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General

WHO launches consultation on prequalification of biosimilars

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in September 2017 that it would be launching its pilot project for prequalifying biosimilars in October 2017. The step is intended to make ‘some of the most expensive treatments for cancer more widely available in low- and middle-income countries’.

Biosimilars of adalimumab

Last update: 15 September 2017

Adalimumab is a human monoclonal antibody that treats autoimmune diseases by inhibiting tumour necrosis factor (TNF); a soluble inflammatory cytokine. Adalimumab binds to TNF-alpha (TNF-α), preventing it from activating TNF receptors, which cause the inflammatory reactions associated with autoimmune diseases. Adalimumab is indicated for the treatment of rheumatoid, juvenile idiopathic and psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis and ulcerative colitis.

Biosimilars of ranibizumab

Last update: 15 September 2017

Ranibizumab is a monoclonal antibody fragment created from the same parent mouse antibody as bevacizumab. Ranibizumab inhibits angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), a mechanism similar to bevacizumab [1]. 

Biosimilars of pegfilgrastim

Last update: 8 September 2017

Pegfilgrastim is a PEGylated form of the recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) analogue filgrastim. It serves to stimulate the level of white blood cells (neutrophils). Pegfilgrastim treatment can be used to stimulate bone marrow to produce more neutrophils (white blood cells) to fight infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Subsequent entry biologics approved in Canada

Last update: 8 September 2017

In Canada, the regulatory body for the approval of biologicals is the Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate (BGTD) of the Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada.

Australia’s TGA consults on naming of biologicals

Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), announced on 28 July 2017 that it was opening a consultation on how to name biologicals.

Biosimilars approved in the US

Last update: 1 September 2017

In the US, a legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2009, via the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCI Act).

Biosimilars of filgrastim

Last update: 1 September 2017

Filgrastim is a granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). Filgrastim treatment can be used to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more neutrophils (white blood cells) to fight infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

Biosimilars of insulin lispro

Last update: 18 August 2017

Insulin glargine is a fast acting insulin analogue used to treat people living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Insulin lispro has one primary advantage over regular insulin for postprandial glucose control. It has a shortened delay of onset, allowing slightly more flexibility than regular insulin, which requires a longer waiting period before starting a meal after injection. Both types should be used in combination with a longer acting insulin for good glycaemic control.

Biosimilars of rituximab

Last update: 18 August 2017

Rituximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody against the protein CD20, which is primarily found on the surface of immune system B cells. Rituximab destroys B cells and is therefore used to treat diseases that are characterized by excessive number of B cells, overactive B cells or dysfunctional B cells. This includes many lymphomas, leukaemias, transplant rejection and autoimmune disorders.