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Celltrion and Juno make biosimilars deal in Australia and Herzuma launches in Iraq Posted 18/10/2019

South Korean biotechnology company Celltrion Healthcare (Celltrion) has entered into a partnership with Juno Pharmaceuticals (Juno) to market the trastuzumab biosimilar Herzuma and rituximab biosimilar Truxima in Australia. The company also launched Herzuma in Iraq.

Under this co-marketing partnership, Celltrion Healthcare Australia – the Marketing Authorization holder in Australia for Herzuma and Truxima – will distribute the products in the market. Juno, a leading hospital supplier in Australia, will be responsible for sales promotion and providing hospital contracting services to Australian hospital customers.

Truxima was the first rituximab biosimilar to be approved by the European Medicines Agency. It is used in the treatment of autoimmune disorders, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and certain cancers, while Herzuma is a breast and gastric cancer drug.

Mark Crotty, CEO of Juno Australia said, ‘We are excited that Celltrion has chosen Juno to represent their rituximab and trastuzumab products in Australia. The Juno team has very extensive experience with biosimilars in the Australian marketplace over the last decade’.

The new partnership comes shortly after Celltrion Healthcare Australia became a member of the Australian Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association, a group that represents generic and biosimilar manufacturers, suppliers and exporters [1]. Earlier in 2019, Juno acquired a local portfolio of ten essential injectable medicines from AstraZeneca, which saw its product range grow to over 60 molecules focussed mainly on the hospital segment. This was a milestone in Juno’s vision to be the leader in supply of off-patent products in hospitals across Australia and New Zealand.

On 26 September 2019, Celltrion announced that its Iraqi marketing partner Hikma began selling Herzuma in Iraq, marking Herzuma’s first foray into the Middle Eastern region. Celltrion is already selling Herzuma in several other global markets, including Europe and Japan, and is currently preparing to launch the biosimilar in other Gulf countries – Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. ‘The entry into Iraq is expected to have a positive effect on expanding our products to neighbouring countries’, the company said.

Herzuma is Celltrion’s second biosimilar to be sold in the Middle Eastern region after Remsima, an autoimmune disease therapeutic antibody biosimilar of infliximab that has been well received in the area. In Morocco, Remsima has over 80% market share, and it has been supplied to public health institutions in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. In Algeria, Celltrion won an exclusive supply deal from the government in 2018 which increased sales of the biosimilar by over sixfold.

Herzuma was approved in Japan for a 3-week cycle method in the treatment of breast cancer in August, and in September 2019 it was approved by Health Canada [2, 3].

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References
1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Trastuzumab biosimilar Herzuma approved in Canada [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2019 Oct 18]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/News/Trastuzumab-biosimilar-Herzuma-approved-in-Canada
2. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. South Korea’s Celltrion to sell directly to Australia [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2019 Oct 18]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/General/South-Korea-s-Celltrion-to-sell-directly-to-Australia
3. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Herzuma gains Japanese approval for three-week cycle method [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2019 Oct 18]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/News/Herzuma-gains-Japanese-approval-for-three-week-cycle-method

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