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Biosimilars of darbepoetin alfa

Last update: 26 February 2016

Darbepoetin alfa is a synthetic form of erythropoietin. It stimulates erythropoiesis (increases red blood cell levels) and is used to treat anaemia, commonly associated with chronic renal failure and cancer chemotherapy.

Celltrion to use cloud-based technology for its biosimilars trials

On 20 January 2016, Korea-based biopharmaceutical company Celltrion announced that it had adopted Medidata’s Clinical Cloud to provide scalable technology for its biosimilars development programmes. The technologies include electronic data capture and management (Medidata Rave), medical coding (Medidata Coder) and randomization and trial supply management (Medidata Balance).

What happened in biosimilars during 2015

The past year has once again been a busy one for the biosimilars industry [1]. The most important milestone achieved during 2015 was the landmark decision made by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on 6 March 2015 to approve Sandoz’s filgrastim biosimilar, Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz), for all five indications of the originator product (Neupogen). FDA is also reviewing applications for epoetin alfa, infliximab, etanercept filgrastim and pegfilgrastim biosimilars.

Biologicals patent expiries

Biosimilars are now a reality. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved its first biosimilar back in 2006 [1] and, with the increasing price of new biologicals and continuing pressure on healthcare budgets, biosimilars are expected to make up an increasing share of the biologicals market.

Launch of partnership for biosimilars education and access

The Biosimilars Forum announced on 1 February 2016 the launch of a new biosimilars education initiative. The ‘Partnership for Biosimilars Education and Access’ will focus on raising awareness and encouraging access to biosimilars in the US.

Similar biotherapeutic products approved and marketed in Latin America

Last update: 29 January 2016

Regulation of similar biotherapeutic products in Latin America varies widely among different countries and many countries have yet to introduce guidance for biosimilars, Latin America is moving towards increasing standards of regulation for these products [1, 2].

Inflectra PBS listing expected to deliver savings in Australia

The infliximab biosimilar Inflectra was approved for listing in Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) on 1 December 2015. This is a decision that ‘will deliver immediate savings’ to the Australian Government, according to the Generic and Biosimilar Medicines Association (GBMA), a group that represents generic and biosimilar medicine suppliers in Australia.

Outcry at new US biosimilars reimbursement policy

A newly announced US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rule that gathers together all biosimilars of a single reference product under just one code has been widely criticized by drugmakers. Drugmakers warn that the rule on Medicare physician payment would reduce incentives for developing biosimilars, reduce patient access and create safety issues due to the inability to differentiate between biosimilars and reference products.

Biosimilar naming in the US, the debate continues

The United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) has called on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reconsider its draft guidance Nonproprietary Naming of Biological Products: Guidance for Industry.

Generics group established first voice for biosimilars in Canada

The Canadian Generic Pharmaceutical Association (CGPA), which represents Canada’s generics industry, announced on 7 April 2015 that it had set up a new CGPA Biosimilars Board, with Mr Michel Robidoux, President and General Manager of Sandoz Canada, as its inaugural Chair.