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Alvogen launches infliximab biosimilar in Europe Posted 21/02/2014

US generics company Alvogen announced on 13 February 2014 that it had launched the infliximab biosimilar Inflectra in Central and Eastern Europe in collaboration with Hospira.

US-based generics major Hospira gained European approval for its first monoclonal antibody biosimilar infliximab (Remsima/Inflectra) in September 2013 as part of its collaboration with South Korean biotechnology company Celltrion [1]. Inflectra is a biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson’s rheumatoid arthritis blockbuster Remicade, which recorded European sales of over US$2 billion in 2012. Inflectra has been approved for the treatment of inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis.

Alvogen and Hospira formed a strategic partnership to provide products and services to patients in Central and Eastern Europe back in 2011. Alvogen will market Inflectra in Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania. The introduction of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies in Europe is expected to deliver savings of up to Euros 20.4 billion by 2020 [2].

In partnership with Hospira, Alvogen has been marketing biosimilars in Central and Eastern Europe for a number of years. The partnership gives Alvogen access to Hospira’s biosimilar portfolio, which includes Inflectra as well as Nivestim (filgrastim) and Retacrit (epoetin zeta). Hospira also plans to launch a number of new biosimilar monoclonal antibodies, one of which the company states is currently in late stage development.

Iceland-based biopharmaceutical company Alvotech, a sister company of US generics company Alvogen, is also working on its biosimilars pipeline. The company announced in December 2013 that it would invest US$250 million to build a plant in Reykjavik, Iceland, for the development and manufacture of a portfolio of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies [3].

Editor’s comment

Readers interested to learn more about cost savings due to biosimilars in Europe are invited to visit www.gabi-journal.net to view the following manuscript published in GaBI Journal:

Saving money in the European healthcare systems with biosimilars

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References

1.   GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. EC approves first monoclonal antibody biosimilar [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2014 Feb 21]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/News/EC-approves-first-monoclonal-antibody-biosimilar

2.   Haustein R, et al. Saving money in the European healthcare systems with biosimilars. Generics and Biosimilars Initiative Journal (GaBI Journal). 2012;1(3-4):120-6. doi:10.5639/gabij.2012.0103-4.036

3.   GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Alvotech invests US$250 million in biosimilars [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2014 Feb 21]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Biosimilars/News/Alvotech-invests-US-250-million-in-biosimilars

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