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Everybody jumping on the biosimilars bandwagon Posted 08/04/2011

According to a report by Reuters on 13 January 2011, Big Pharma is taking a major interest in the biosimilars market. During interviews with Amgen, Merck, and Biogen Idec at the JP Morgan’s 28th Annual Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, USA, biosimilars was the hot topic.

Amgen said it would consider biosimilars, with emerging markets in Asia and South America being its focus. Amgen has much at stake, as its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis biotech drug Enbrel (etanercept) will lose patent protection in the US in October 2012.

Merck has already entered into an alliance with contract research organisation (CRO) Parexel to provide biosimilars to Merck BioVentures, whilst Biogen Idec CEO Mr George Scangos told that the company was ‘in the perfect position’ to enter the biosimilars market, which he saw as ‘low risk’.

Roche on the other hand intends to defend its products against biosimilar competition. Roche’s cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab), which has annual sales of around US$6 billion, will be the first of its biotech drugs to face competition. Avastin will lose its patent protection in the US in 2019.

These are not the only Big Pharma companies showing an interest in biosimilars. Actavis and Bioton announced an agreement back in September 2010 and even non-pharma are getting in on the act, with electronics giant, Samsung, signing a deal to produce both originator biotech products and biosimilars with CRO Quintiles.

Meanwhile, Novartis’s Sandoz unit has already proved itself to be a major player in the biosimilars market, being the only manufacturer so far to have more than two biosimilars on the market at this time.

Related articles

Samsung to enter biosimilars market

Merck and Parexel form strategic alliance for biosimilars

Actavis plans entry to biosimilars market with Bioton agreement

Source: Merck, Parexel, Reuters

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