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Biosimilar rituximab in biological naïve rheumatoid arthritis patients

Cost remains a major constraint in the use of originator biologicals in rheumatology in developing countries, paving the way for ever increasing usage of biosimilars. However, apart from the cost, their efficacy and safety are of tremendous interest to clinicians in both developing and developed worlds.

Insulin biosimilar meets primary endpoint in phase III studies

US pharma giant Merck announced on 13 June 2016 positive results from two phase III studies evaluating its insulin glargine biosimilar (MK-1293).

Improvement in uptake of biosimilars in Spain

Author Ainhoa Aranguren Oyarzábal and colleagues from the Madrid Health Service (MHS), Spain found that there has been an increase in the uptake of biosimilars in Spain since indicators were introduced [1].

Immunogenicity of biologicals: the role of post-translational modifications

Although produced under strict quality control(s) nascent endogenous proteins and glycoproteins (P/GP) are structurally heterogeneous and subject to further structural changes throughout their in vivo life cycle. A nascent polypeptide chain may be subject to co-translational modifications (CTMs) as it is extruded from the ribosome tunnel, e.g. the addition of oligosaccharide; edited for correct folding and initial oligosaccharide processing within the endoplasmic reticulum and subject to post-translational modifications (PTMs) during passage through the Golgi apparatus. The functional activity of a P/GP may be dependent on further chemical modifications (CMs), e.g. deamidation, enzymatic cleavage. These heterogeneities are compounded when determining the structure of a purified P/GP because further CMs may be introduced during its isolation, purification and characterization [1].

Effectiveness of ESAs in treating anaemia in kidney disease and cancer patients

Erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) are biological analogues of human erythropoietin used for the treatment of anaemia associated with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and chemotherapy treatment in cancer patients [1]. ESA biosimilars have been available on the Italian market since 2007. However, only limited post-marketing data exist on the comparative effectiveness of biosimilar and originator ESAs in routine care.

Monoclonal antibodies and the challenge of substitution

Healthcare payers are eagerly awaiting the arrival of biosimilar competition in the innovative monoclonal antibody sector in order to drive down drug prices and increase patients’ access to these medicines. As the first to introduce scientific and regulatory requirements for the approval of biosimilars in 2004, the European Union (EU) has emerged as a testing ground for biosimilars. In view of the lack of stance of EU governments and national institutions on substitution for biosimilars, hospitals and healthcare structures logically took up this major issue.

Pharmacokinetic behaviour of a trastuzumab biocomparables

Biosimilars represent a viable alternative for the treatment of chronic and degenerative diseases of many patients worldwide who cannot afford the costs of biotherapies based on originator products. Trastuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody, which is used for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. In the review paper of Miranda-Hernández et al. [1], the authors described the development of a trastuzumab biocomparable by Mexico-based Probiomed. This biocomparable, according to the authors, was developed in compliance with international guidelines and the characterization of Critical Quality Attributes (CQAs), as well as the pharmacokinetic parameters evaluated in healthy volunteers, demonstrated comparability with the reference product.

Switching between different ESAs

Switching between reference biologicals and biosimilars can be a contentious issue. A study from Italy, however, has found that this phenomenon is not limited to reference products and their biosimilars, but also often occurs between originator biologicals and other originator biologicals within the same category [1].

Uptake of biosimilars increasing in Spain

Use of biosimilars in Madrid, Spain, has increased after approaches were introduced to try and improve uptake of biosimilars in the country, according to Ainhoa Aranguren Oyarzábal and colleagues from the Madrid Health Service (MHS), Spain [1].

Clinical and regulatory issues for biosimilars

As the first biosimilars are being approved in the US, there are a number of clinical and regulatory issues that must be considered for the safe and appropriate utilization of these products within the health system [1]. Biosimilars provide the opportunity to lower cost and improve access to important biological treatments. However, their success will depend largely on their acceptance by clinicians, payers and patients.