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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.

FDA updates Purple Book for biologicals and biosimilars

On 21 February 2017, the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) announced the availability of an updated version of the ‘Purple Book’.

Biosimilars of omalizumab

Last update: 3 November 2017

Omalizumab is a recombinant DNA-derived humanized IgG1k monoclonal antibody that specifically binds to free human immunoglobulin E (IgE) in the blood and interstitial fluid and to membrane-bound form of IgE (mIgE) on the surface of mIgE-expressing B lymphocytes [1]. Unlike an ordinary anti-IgE antibody, it does not bind to IgE that is already bound by the high affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) on the surface of mast cells, basophils, and antigen-presenting dendritic cells. The originator product Novartis’s Xolair (omalizumab) is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe persistent asthma and chronic idiopathic urticaria despite antihistamine treatment.

Biosimilars of eculizumab

Last update: 20 October 2017

Eculizumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that is a terminal complement inhibitor. It is used to treat people with paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH), for whom it improves quality of life but does not appear to affect the risk of death. It is also indicated for the treatment of patients with atypical haemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) – a disease that primarily affects kidney function – to inhibit complement-mediated thrombotic microangiopathy.

Biosimilars of abatacept

Last update: 28 April 2017

Abatacept is a modified antibody biological drug used to treat autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, by interfering with the function of particular cells (T-cells) in the immune system. This action modifies the inflammation and immune activity which cause the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

FDA Commissioner discusses challenges and opportunities for biosimilars

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its first biosimilar for cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab) in September 2017 [1]. In light of this momentous event, FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb spoke to medical reporter Laurie MicGinely, at The Washington Post’s Chasing Cancer Summit, about the challenges faced by biosimilars and the future opportunities in the US.

Biocon withdraws EU applications for trastuzumab and pegfilgrastim biosimilars

India-based biologicals specialist Biocon announced on 16 August 2017 that it was withdrawing its European Union (EU) marketing applications for its trastuzumab and pegfilgrastim biosimilars.

Biosimilars applications under review by EMA – August 2017

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is the body responsible for approval of biosimilars within the European Union (EU). A legal framework for approving biosimilars was established in 2003. Approval of biosimilars is based on an abbreviated registration process, which allows biosimilars manufacturers to provide a reduced package of information compared to originator drugs, provided they can prove ‘similarity’ to the originator or reference drug.