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Filgrastim biosimilar has similar safety and efficacy to Neupogen

A filgrastim biosimilar (EP2006) from Sandoz, the generics division of Swiss pharma giant Novartis, has shown similar safety and efficacy compared to Amgen’s Neupogen (filgrastim) in a pivotal phase III clinical study.

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.

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].

Biocomparable has comparable safety and efficacy to originator erythropoietin in haemodialysis patients

A study of the treatment of patients with chronic kidney disease undergoing haemodialysis with ‘biocomparable’ and originator erythropoietin in Mexico has shown comparable efficacy and safety in terms of changes in haemoglobin levels [1].

Extrapolation of indications in biosimilars: infliximab

Physicians may not be well informed about the scientific concept underlying the principle of extrapolating* indications for biosimilars. This in turn may lead them to distrust biosimilars, leading to a lower than expected uptake in Europe, especially in extrapolated indications. Members of the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Working Party on Similar Biological (Biosimilar) Medicinal Products (BMWP) address these concerns using extrapolation of indications in biosimilar infliximab as an example [1].

Phase I study shows darbepoetin alfa biosimilar to be well tolerated

Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical (CKD Pharma) announced on 18 November 2014 the successful completion of its phase I pharmacokinetics study for its biosimilar darbepoetin alfa product.

Extrapolation of indications in biosimilars: epoetin

Despite a stringent approval process, acceptance of biosimilars in the medical community continues to be low, and especially in extrapolated* indications. Members of the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Biosimilar Medicinal Products Working Party (BMWP) address these concerns using extrapolation of indications in biosimilar epoetin as an example [1].

Non-biological complex drug concept: experiences with iron sucrose and low molecular weight heparin

When the patent of a classical small molecule drug expires, generics may be marketed if their therapeutic equivalence to the originator drug has been established. The therapeutic equivalence of a drug includes both pharmaceutical equivalence and bioequivalence and do not require formal clinical efficacy and safety studies. The demonstration of therapeutic equivalence then allows for the interchangeability of the generic and originator drug. This approach has so far only been applied to products that can be fully characterized. For more complex molecules, which are difficult to characterize, such as proteins, the demonstration of bioequivalence requires an alternative approach.

US biosimilar uptake in the light of Obamacare

A literature review by researchers at Tufts University in the US concludes that market uptake of biosimilars in the US will depend on regulatory policies, including the smoothing out of issues concerning the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory pathway [1, 2]. The review comes in the light of a new approval pathway for biosimilars established as part of the US Government’s Affordable Care Act, more widely known as Obamacare.

Use of biosimilars in rheumatology

In order to issue a position statement on the use of biosimilars in rheumatic diseases, the Sociedade Portuguesa de Reumatologia (Portuguese Society of Rheumatology) carried out two systematic literature reviews: one on clinical trials and one on international position papers for biosimilars [1].

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