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It may take four to five years before the first US biosimilar is a fact

It may take about four to five years for a biogeneric drug to hit the US market, even though industry experts are optimistic about the passage of pending healthcare reform legislation there by the end of 2009.

Partnering better for biosimilars, limited growth in generics will lead to moves for innovative drugs

With six biosimilar compounds in the works and two launched in the Indian market, India's second largest generic drug maker – Dr Reddy's Laboratories – is negotiating with several multinational companies to broaden its presence in Western markets. The unveiling of a deal that may span from sharing regulatory and manufacturing expertise to distribution and detailing could be expected some time next year (in 2010). But the task of taking biosimilar drugs into developed markets will be tough and expensive as regulatory agencies will likely seek submissions on non-inferiority clinical trials that will be large-scale, typically involving close to a thousand patients or even more.

Patient safety should be addressed in biosimilars measure

US Congress should ensure that patient safety and medical efficacy are prioritised in a healthcare-reform measure that allows the use of follow-on biologics (or FOBs) according to David Nash of the Jefferson School of Population Health. Rather than just debating data exclusivity for follow-on biologics, lawmakers should also specify rules on testing these drugs and consider requiring post-market surveillance to avoid ‘unintended consequences’ that compromise patient safety, he writes.

Delaware and BIO advocate call for biosimilar support

In a DelawareOnline Letter to the Editor of 2 November 2009, Delaware BioScience Association President Bob Dayton and Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) President and CEO Jim Greenwood called on Delaware's lawmakers to protect consumer safety and ensure innovation of biosimilars as US Congress works on healthcare reform legislation.

Biotech drugmakers get 12-year protection in US House health bill

The US House health reform bill unveiled on 29 October 2009 would grant brand-name biotech-drug manufacturers 12 years of exclusivity before generic versions of their products can rely on their safety and efficacy data. The bill also would require drugmakers to pay an estimated US$60 billion (Euros 40.13 billion) in Medicare reimbursements over the next 10 years and allow the federal government to negotiate prices directly with companies.

Mycenax to start phase III etanercept biosimilar trial

Protein drug development company Mycenax Biotech of Taiwan announced on 20 October 2009 that its rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis drug TuNEX, a biosimilar version of etanercept, has successfully completed a phase I trial in South Korea and a phase I/II clinical trial in Taiwan is in the data analysis and report preparation stage; important clinical trial milestones towards the commercial release of the drug in both regional and global markets.

Merck & Co uses its traditional strengths in biosimilars race

With sales growth for biologicals expected to outpace that in the overall pharmaceutical sector over the next few years, it is not surprising that ‘big pharma’ has been beefing up its presence in the sector through acquisitions and licensing deals.

ACRO wants clinical trials or tests for most biosimilars

On 14 October 2009, the Association of Clinical Research Organizations (ACRO) made recommendations for biosimilars legislation in a letter sent to the US Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions, Senate Committee on Finance, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Committee on Ways and Means, and House Committee on Education and Labor.

US Congress urged to create a ‘real’ biosimilars pathway

On 30 September 2009, US campaigners urged US Congress to create a ‘real’ regulatory pathway for biosimilars, but researchers warn that it may take until 2011 to implement any such policies.

Hospira acquires biosimilar filgrastim rights and facility from Teva

Hospira announced on 30 September 2009 the acquisition of worldwide rights to a biosimilar version of filgrastim and an affiliated European manufacturing facility from PLIVA Hrvatska (in Zagreb, Croatia, now owned by Teva), a move that will help extend Hospira's reach and vertical integration in biosimilars.