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General

Biosimilars of ranibizumab

Last update: 25 November 2016

Ranibizumab is a monoclonal antibody fragment created from the same parent mouse antibody as bevacizumab. Ranibizumab inhibits angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels) by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), a mechanism similar to bevacizumab [1].

Biosimilars of filgrastim

Last update: 18 November 2016

Filgrastim is a granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). Filgrastim treatment can be used to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more neutrophils (white blood cells) to fight infection in patients undergoing chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

Biosimilars of natalizumab

Natalizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody against the cell adhesion molecule α4-integrin. Natalizumab is believed to work by reducing the ability of inflammatory immune cells to attach to and pass through the cell layers lining the intestines and blood–brain barrier. Natalizumab is indicated for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (US and Europe) and Crohn’s disease (US).

Biosimilars of epoetin alfa

Last update: 4 November 2016

Epoetin alfa is a human erythropoietin produced in cell culture using recombinant DNA technology. It stimulates erythropoiesis (increases red blood cell levels) and is used to treat anaemia, commonly associated with chronic renal failure and cancer chemotherapy.

WHO proposes provisional implementation of biological qualifier

The World Health Organization (WHO) first introduced the concept of a biological qualifier (BQ) for naming biologicals back in 2014. This was followed by a draft proposal on naming biologicals, including biosimilars [1]. This has now been followed by the proposal to proceed with a provisional implementation of the BQ scheme accompanied by a prospective impact study.

Merck launches biosimilars educational resource for patients

US pharma giant Merck (known as MSD outside the US and Canada) has launched an online resource intended to be used as an educational platform for patients, caregivers and the healthcare community.

Court rules in favour of Apotex in biosimilars dispute

Biosimilars specialist Apobiologix, which is part of the Apotex group, announced on 9 September 2016 that it had won its battle in the US against biologicals giant Amgen with respect to its filgrastim (Grastofil) and pegfilgrastim (Lapelga) biosimilars.

Biosimilars approved in Japan

Last update: 14 October 2016

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

Subsequent entry biologics approved in Canada

Last update: 7 October 2016 

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.

Biosimilars approved in the US

Last update: 30 September 2016

In the US, a legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2009, via the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act of 2009 (BPCI Act).

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