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Regulation of biosimilars in the US

The US pharmaceutical industry plays a vital role in shaping the face of American health care. With major patent expiries and thin product pipelines, the industry is now considering new directions to maintain growth and stability. Biological drugs, derived from living organisms, represent a growing opportunity for big pharmaceutical firms. They command high prices, will probably have fewer firms making them than generics due to high barriers to entry, and play to the existing strengths of big pharma firms. But will the recent healthcare legislation provide the way for consistent FDA regulation? What is the most likely way in which biologicals will enter the market over the next few years?

Successful completion of biosimilar infliximab programme

South Korean biotechnology company Celltrion announced on 1 February 2012 the successful completion of the company’s clinical programme for its (CT-P13) biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson’s rheumatoid arthritis blockbuster Remicade (infliximab).

Spinnovation enters biosimilar collaboration with Quantum Tessera

Dutch-based bioanalysis specialist Spinnovation Biologics (Spinnovation) announced on 24 January 2012 that it had entered into a collaboration with US-based consulting company Quantum Tessera.

Amphastar and Watson launch biosimilar enoxaparin

US generics manufacturer Watson Pharmaceuticals announced on 26 January 2012 that Amphastar Pharmaceuticals and Watson had been granted their request for a stay of the preliminary injunction preventing the companies from marketing or selling Amphastar’s enoxaparin sodium injection.

Sandoz starts phase III trials for biosimilar filgrastim and pegfilgrastim

On 19 January 2012, Sandoz, the generic drug division of Swiss drug giant Novartis AG, announced that it had started two phase III clinical trials, one for biosimilar filgrastim (Amgen’s Neupogen) for the US market and the other for its global pegfilgrastim (Amgen’s Neulasta) development programme.

Roche encounters manufacturing issues with epoetin-beta

The Spanish regulatory agency has found deviations in the quality of the manufacture of Switzerland-based F. Hoffmann-La Roche’s biological anaemia treatment Mircera (methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta), a long acting erythropoiesis-stimulating agent; and is recommending patients to change to other epoetins.

Baxter and Momenta make biosimilars deal

Baxter International (Baxter) and Momenta Pharmaceuticals (Momenta) announced on 22 December 2011 that they had entered into a global collaboration agreement to develop and commercialise biosimilars.

Amgen finally jumps on biosimilars bandwagon

Biotech giant Amgen and US generics manufacturer Watson Pharmaceuticals (Watson) announced on 19 December 2011 that the two companies had agreed to collaborate on the development and commercialisation of several cancer antibody biosimilars.

Hospira starts phase III programme for biosimilar erythropoietin

Hospira, self-proclaimed leader in injectable generics, announced on 9 January 2012 that the company had enrolled the first patient in its phase III programme in the US for its biosimilar erythropoietin (EPO).

First biosimilar G-CSF in Japan

Mochida Pharmaceuticals (Mochida) and development partner Fuji Pharma announced on 26 December 2011 that they had filed respective applications for the first biosimilar granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) in Japan.

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