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Biosimilars: similar but not identical

One reason for distrust among physicians over using biosimilars in extrapolated* indications could be the fact that it is frequently cited that biosimilars are ‘similar but not identical’ compared to small molecule generics, which are often referred to as ‘identical’.

Improved labelling sought for biosimilar acceptance

The terms of approval for every biosimilar and its reference product must be made clearer, argue the European Biopharmaceutical Enterprises (EBE) [1]. The development of biosimilar regulatory pathways worldwide has been led by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) [2], but EMA’s information-driven stepwise approach is only reflected in a single section of the product labelling for healthcare professionals and patients, which so far has followed a generic approach in Europe.

Study results show safety of switching to biosimilar infliximab

US-based Epirus Biopharmaceuticals (Epirus) announced on 23 September 2014 positive week 58 follow-up data from its global phase III study for its biosimilar infliximab (BOW015). Results of the open label phase, which was carried out in rheumatoid arthritis patients, demonstrated comparable safety and efficacy compared to the originator product (Remicade).

Extrapolation for biosimilars

Regarding extrapolation* of indications for biosimilars, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has stated that ‘if clinical similarity can be shown in a key indication, extrapolation of efficacy and safety data to other indication(s) of the reference product may be possible’ under certain conditions [1].

Biosimilar bevacizumab similar to Avastin in preclinical assessments

Preclinical assessments have demonstrated the similarity of biologicals major Amgen’s biosimilar bevacizumab candidate (ABP 215) to Avastin [1].

Mobilization of stem cells by biosimilar Nivestim and Neupogen

Comparison of biosimilar granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), Nivestim and originator G-CSF, Neupogen (filgrastim), showed no statistical differences when used for the mobilization of peripheral blood stem cells in patients treated for haematological malignancies [1].

Phase III study of biosimilar adalimumab meets primary endpoint

Biologicals major Amgen announced on 8 October 2014 the first late-stage data from its biosimilars programme. Primary efficacy analysis from a phase III trial of Amgen’s adalimumab biosimilar (ABP 501) compared with Humira (adalimumab) has demonstrated ‘clinical equivalence’.

Strategy for biosimilars in China

China is one of the largest pharmaceutical markets in the world, and has seen rapid growth in the biopharmaceuticals industry in recent years.  However, it is still lacking guidance when it comes to biosimilars. Authors Li and Tuan from the Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, China, discuss how this affects biologicals companies in China [1].

Biosimilar etanercept demonstrates equivalent efficacy

A phase III trial comparing Hanwha Chemical Corporation (Hanwha)’s biosimilar etanercept, HD203, with Enbrel (etanercept) has demonstrated equivalent efficacy [1].

Regulating the safety of biosimilars

Clinical safety is critically important during the development of a biosimilar. An overview of the main aspects of safety assessment of biosimilars has been prepared to assist all those interested in this area of growing importance [1].

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