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Research

Pricing of biosimilars

For small molecule generics, reductions in price of around 80% have been observed after the first six months to a year of generics entry to the market in countries such as Germany, UK and the US [1, 2]. Biosimilars, however, are an entirely different entity.

Factors affecting market access of biosimilars

Growth in the use of biosimilars is being driven by the need to reduce healthcare costs, patent expiries on blockbuster originator biologicals and better-defined regulatory pathways.

Testing for unwanted immunogenicity from biologicals

Immunogenicity caused by biologicals, both originator and biosimilar, is an important issue that was raised by Dr Wadhwa from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control [1].

Positive results from phase I study with biosimilar insulin glargine

Leading biotech company Biocon announced on 25 July 2012 positive results from a phase I comparative study conducted in Germany of its biosimilar insulin glargine in type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) patients.

Biosimilar infliximab equivalence proven in phase III trial

Results from a phase III trial of biosimilar infliximab have proven the equivalence of South Korean biotechnology company Celltrion’s biosimilar (CT-P13) and the reference product – Johnson & Johnson’s rheumatoid arthritis blockbuster Remicade (infliximab) in terms of safety and efficacy in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis [1].

Small molecule versus biological drugs

Biological drugs are large and complex, often consisting of heterogeneous mixtures. They are generally made in genetically engineered cells that impose their own variabilities–in post-translation modifications such as glycosylation–on the processes used to make such drugs.

Phase I trial of biosimilar infliximab proves biosimilarity

Results from a phase I trial of biosimilar infliximab have proven the equivalence of South Korean biotechnology company Celltrion’s biosimilar (CT-P13) and the reference product – Johnson & Johnson’s rheumatoid arthritis blockbuster Remicade (infliximab) in terms of pharmacokinetic parameters, as well as in safety and efficacy in patients with active ankylosing spondylitis [1].

Prescriber caution is likely over biosimilars

The experience with generic medicines is a sign that prescribers are likely to be cautious, and in some cases concerned, about the use of biosimilars as alternatives to brand-name drugs.

Biosimilar filgrastim provides cost savings for treating febrile neutropenia

Professor Aapro and co-authors have performed a cost-efficiency analysis for the three most common granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSF) products used to treat febrile neutropenia: filgrastim (Neupogen, Amgen) and its biosimilar (Zarzio, Sandoz/Novartis) and the pegylated form of filgrastim, pegfilgrastim (Neulasta, Amgen) [1]. Filgrastim is more cost-efficient than pegfilgrastim for up to 12 days of treatment: beyond 12 days, pegfilgrastim becomes the most cost-efficient of the two. But above all, biosimilar filgrastim is the most cost saving compared to both originator filgrastim and pegfilgrastim.

Bioavailability comparison of brand-name and generic acetylcysteine in China

A study comparing brand-name and generic acetylcysteine in China by Liu et al has shown that the generics test formulation was bioequivalent to the originator drug [1].