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Can biosimilar manufacturers learn from generic substitution issues

The substitution of generic prescription medicines for branded medicines is practiced in most Westernised countries, mainly because of its clear economic benefits. Patient experiences of generic substitution are mixed however, with many patients left confused or suspicious [1]. Given that a number of second-generation biosimilar compounds are expected to be approved within the next few years, and that biosimilar manufacturing costs are much higher than those of a simple generic, it is crucial for biosimilar manufacturers to avoid the uncertainty and mistrust that often accompanies generic substitution. Several recommendations have been made to help ensure that substitution pathways are streamlined and successful [1] but can any of these recommendations be applied to biosimilars?

US biosimilars: a report on FDA progress

This article reviews the steps being taken by FDA to implement the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation (BPCI) Act of 2009, enshrined in law in 2010 as the ‘biosimilars statute’.

Development of biosimilars is not an easy matter

By 2020 biological products with sales of around US$23 billion in the EU and US$29 billion in the US will be exposed to biosimilar competition [1]. As more and more biologicals lose their patent protection, it is no wonder that Big Pharma, the biotechnology industry and generics manufacturers, as well as regulatory agencies, are becoming increasingly interested in biosimilars [2].

US biosimilars law may prove a barrier to entry for biosimilars

One of the main barriers to biosimilar entry in the US is the US biosimilars law [1]. While some have questioned whether the biosimilars pathway in the US will ever be used [2, 3], others believe that, although flawed, the US biosimilars pathway is likely to become a functioning legal pathway [4].

Brand-name statins costing healthcare system US$6.7 billion

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA, found that physicians prescribing unnecessary treatments or diagnostic tests, spanning a broad range of clinical conditions, costs the US healthcare system an extra US$6.7 billion annually. The findings, published in Archives of Internal Medicine, attributed prescribing of brand-name statins instead of generic statins as accounting for most of the excess cost [1].

Biotech pipeline and biosimilars

There are more than 200 new biotechnology products in the pipeline (phase II to registered), all of which could be future targets for biosimilars. However, around 60% of these products concern mechanisms of action that are already available, see Figure 1 [1].

Biosimilars or biobetters–what does the future hold

Biosuperiors or biobetters are improvements to originator biological molecules, whereas biosimilars are structural imitations of the originator. But how will the pharma industry choose to pursue this lucrative market and benefit from patent expirations on biologicals? Will biobetters or biosimilars be the winners?

How profitable will biosimilars be

The profitability of biosimilars remains an open question. Five years after launch it is thought that most biosimilars markets will look similar to generics markets (70% penetration, 25% of brand-name drug price) but also that a ‘brand-like’ market with lower price attrition and market share is possible [1].

US$54 billion worth of biosimilar patents expiring before 2020

By 2020 biological products with sales of around US$23 billion in the EU and US$29 billion in the US are expected to be exposed to biosimilar competition [1].

Biosimilars: barriers to entry and profitability in the EU and US

The implications of the US biosimilars law and the pending patent expiries of the 12 major biological products in the EU and the US will have an impact on the profitability and viability of the biosimilars industry [1].