How is licensing of biosimilars actually being applied in Europe? This was the question broached in a paper by Dr Christian Schneider – Chairman of both the Committee for Advanced Therapies and Biosimilar Medicinal Products Working Party and Co-opted member of the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP).
Drugmakers seeking to register a biosimilar product in Singapore should provide complete information on the development, control and manufacture of the drug and its active ingredient, a new guidance says. Comparability studies between the biosimilar product and its reference product also must be submitted, the Health Sciences Authority says in the guidance posted on its website on 1 August 2009.
With US Congressional actions on biosimilar/follow-on biologics approaching, the FDA has issued a Guidance regarding the use of pens, jets, and other related injectors (see Draft Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff: Technical Considerations for Pen, Jet and Related Injectors Intended for Use with Drugs and Biological Products, April 2009). The Guidance recognises that these are innovative approaches to deliver drugs or biologics products that may enhance accuracy and patient compliance.
Biosimilar guidelines and regulations are being developed all over the world, as outlined at the 7th EGA Annual Symposium on Biosimilars recently held in London, UK by Ingrid Schwarzenberger, Head Regulatory Affairs Biopharmaceuticals at Sandoz and member of European Generic medicines Association’s (EGA) European Biopharmaceutical Group.
In Europe, the patents of protein products manufactured using biotechnology started to expire in 2000, and more than 10 will have expired by the end of the decade, including patents for growth hormones, α-, β- and γ-interferon interferon, human insulins, epoetin alfa, interleukin 2, G-CSF, follitropin, streptokinase, and tissue plasminogen activator. As with traditional low-molecular-weight chemically derived pharmaceuticals, this allows the possibility of developing new and cheaper versions of these biopharmaceutical products. However, while the former products are relatively easy to manufacture, the latter ones are much more challenging to produce, for many reasons. Recombinant proteins are large molecules, which have a highly complex three-dimensional structure and are not synthesised in vitro, but produced and secreted by genetically modified cells. During this process, proteins can undergo posttranslational modifications, such as glycosylation, that lead to heterogeneity.