US$67 billion worth of biosimilar patents expiring before 2020

Biosimilars/General | Posted 29/06/2012 post-comment3 Post your comment

Last updated: 20 January 2014

Twelve biological products with global sales of more than US$67 billion will be exposed to biosimilar competition by 2020, with Enbrel (etanercept) whose US patent has been extended until 2028, scoring global sales of US$7.3 billion by December 2011; coming in second after Humira (adalimumab) with global sales of US$7.9 billion [1].

02 AA010638

Estimated patent expiry dates for just some of the best-selling biological molecules are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Expiry dates for major patents on best-selling biologicals

GW 1058F figure 1

Although the EU has defined a period of 10 years data exclusivity, this has been revised at the latest review of pharmaceutical EU legislation to the following:
10 years if the reference product is centrally approved or application to the centralized procedure has been made before 20 November 2005.  Or eight years data exclusivity + 2+ 1 formula if a full dossier is submitted on or after 30 October 2005 via national procedure or 20 November 2005 via centralized procedure [3].

The expiration of patents and other intellectual property rights for originator biologicals over the next decade opens up opportunities for biosimilars to enter the market and increase industry competition. Price reduction strategies should increased adoption among physicians and patients alike, spurring increases in the biosimilars market share.

The biosimilars market earned revenue of approximately US$172 million in 2010, according to Frost and Sullivan. However, despite estimates that the market will reach approximately US$3,987 million by 2017, the biosimilars industry is not for the faint hearted. Considerable investment is required to manufacture and get a biosimilar to market, and with such complex molecules failure can occur at any stage of the development. Despite this, with a compound annual growth rate of 56.7% expected from 2010 to 2017 many companies – both originator and generics alike – are finding the sector hard to resist.

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1.  Sheppard A, Iervolino A. Biosimilars: about to leap? 10th EGA International Symposium on Biosimilar Medicines; 2012 April 19; London, UK.

2.  Gal R. Biosimilars: Reviewing US Law and US/EU Patents; Bottom Up Model Suggests 12 Products and $7-$8B Market by 2020. Bernstein Research. 26 May 2011.

3.  European Commission, Enterprise and Industry Directorate-General. Consensus Information Paper 2013. What you need to know about Biosimilar Medicinal Products. 2013 [cited 2014 Jan 20].

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comment icon Comments (3)
Post your comment
Posted 22/10/2013 by Hadi Bazzazjavid
patent extension

Of course they want to sell their product without competition in the market and they easily change the formulation with on excipient

Posted 03/07/2012 by Jodi H, GaBI Online Editorial Office
Response to 'Patent life extension'

Dear Ms Belton, To help answer your request, please view the following article which is in relation to an Amgen Enbrel patent ( If you should have any further questions or requests, please feel free to contact us directly at Thank you and regards, Jodi

Posted 02/07/2012 by Amy M. Belton
Patent life extension


Can anyone give some insight as to why the originator companies were given extensions on their patents?

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