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Australia issues new biosimilars guidance

Australia’s regulatory body, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) published specific guidance for biosimilars on its website on 30 July 2013.

Development and regulation of biosimilars in Japan

In Japan, a biosimilar product is defined as a biotechnological drug product developed by a different company that is comparable to the approved biotechnology-derived product (reference product) of an innovator company [1, 2].

EMA issues draft concept paper on comparing quality in biologicals and biosimilars

On 28 June 2013, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) released a draft concept paper to discuss the issue of how to compare the quality attributes for biological products and biosimilars. The draft concept paper has been released for a three-month consultation period.

Revision of guideline on clinical and non-clinical issues for biosimilars

On 10 June 2013, EMA released a revision of the guideline addressing the clinical and non-clinical issues related to similar biological products (biosimilars) containing biotechnology-derived proteins as the active substance. The draft guideline has been released for a six-month consultation period.

Updated guideline on the use of epoetin and darbepoetin in cancer patients

Patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer can often become anaemic as their red blood cell counts, and hence iron levels, fall. Besides the traditional approach of offering blood transfusion in order to restore iron levels, physicians can now treat patients with drugs that stimulate red blood cell development – known as erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs). Both treatments can boost iron-containing haemoglobin (Hb) levels, but they also pose risks to the patients. With transfusions, patients are at risk from serious infections and immune-mediated adverse events, while with ESAs; there is an increased risk of thromboembolism and death from other (but poorly understood) causes [1].

EMA issues draft revision of overarching biosimilar guidelines

EMA announced on 2 May 2013 the publication of its new draft biosimilars guideline, which will revise the agency’s 2005 overarching guideline on similar biological medicinal products. The draft guideline has been released for a six-month consultation period.

Argentinian guidelines for similar biological medicines

The regulatory body for approval of medicines in Argentina is the Administración Nacional de Medicamentos, Alimentos y Tecnología Médica (National Administration of Drugs, Foods and Medical Devices; ANMAT).

FDA issues draft guidance for biosimilar meetings

FDA announced on 1 April 2013 that it had issued draft guidance for biosimilar meetings outlining standardized procedures for requesting, preparing, scheduling, conducting and documenting such formal meetings with FDA.

Guideline update on prevention of febrile neutropenia with G-CSF

Patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer are at risk of developing the sometimes fatal condition of febrile neutropenia (FN), involving infection, fever and sepsis due to a loss of neutrophils. Prophylaxis with recombinant granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) has been shown to reduce hospital admissions, antibiotic use and the need for chemotherapy dose reduction. Several forms of recombinant G-CSF are available, including filgrastim and its biosimilars, or the pegylated version of filgrastim. All three are considered to be equivalent in terms of clinical efficacy and safety.

EMA releases guidelines on biosimilar interferon beta and r-FSH

In March 2013, EMA released two guidelines on how pharmaceutical companies should test biosimilar medicines containing interferon beta and recombinant follicle stimulation hormone (r-FSH).

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