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Biosimilars approved in Canada

Last update: 12 January 2018

In Canada, the regulatory body for the approval of biologicals is the Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate (BGTD) of the Health Products and Food Branch (HPFB) of Health Canada.

Roche sues Pfizer over Herceptin biosimilar

Switzerland-based drug giant Roche has sued pharma giant Pfizer for patent infringement on its blockbuster breast cancer drug Herceptin (trastuzumab) in an attempt to block competition from Pfizer’s trastuzumab biosimilar.

EC publishes biosimilar Q&A document for patients in 23 languages

On 29 November 2017, the European Commission (EC) published a patient-focused Questions and Answers (Q&A) document on biosimilar medicines aimed at patients and the general public.

Biosimilars approved in Japan

Last update: 5 January 2018

In Japan, the regulatory body for the approval of medicines, including biologicals, is the Ministry for Health Labour and Welfare (MHLW).

Biosimilars of palivizumab

Palivizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody. It targets the fusion protein of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) inhibiting its entry into the cell and thereby preventing infection. Palivizumab is therefore used in the prevention of RSV infections.

UK launches campaign to promote research on biosimilars

A new campaign launched by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) aims to unlock the potential benefits of biosimilars in the National Health Service (NHS) through clinical trials.

Hospira to pay Amgen US$70 million for epoetin alfa patent infringement

US-based injectables specialist Hospira has been ordered to pay Biotech giant Amgen US$70 million in damages regarding a patent on Amgen’s anaemia blockbuster Epogen (epoetin alfa).

FDA launches educational campaign for biosimilars

In light of the increasing number of biosimilars becoming available in the US, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on 23 October 2017 the launch of its education campaign for biosimilars.

NHS England to increase biosimilar usage

On 12 September 2017, National Health Service (NHS) England released a ‘Commissioning framework for biological medicines (including biosimilar medicines)’. In this document, they make a series of recommendations with the aim of increasing both biological and biosimilar uptake. As a result of increased competition between biologicals, creating better value biological medicines and biosimilars, NHS England believes that it can make savings of GBP 200 − GBP 300 million a year by 2020/21 by increasing uptake of these better value biologicals.

Biosimilars of bevacizumab

Last update: 13 October 2017

Bevacizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody. It inhibits angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) by blocking the action of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). Bevacizumab can therefore slow the growth of new blood vessels in tumours and is used to treat various cancers, including colorectal, lung, breast, glioblastoma, kidney and ovarian.