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Biosimilar assessments: do we need efficacy trials?

Regulatory guidelines for biosimilar approval have existed in Europe since 2004. These are based on the totality of evidence from comparative studies with reference products and have always required comparative efficacy studies. However, a recent article by Bielsky et al., published in Drug Discovery Today [1], explores the increasingly questioned role of the clinical efficacy trial in biosimilar approval. 

Biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars: manufacturing challenges

Biopharmaceuticals include a complex active pharmaceutical ingredient (API). This is manufactured using living systems such as microbial and mammalian cells which makes manufacture a complicated process. A recent paper by Sia et al. published in GaBI Journal [1] has explored current biopharmaceutical processes and the challenges posed by manufacturer.

Biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars: manufacturing processes

The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) in biopharmaceuticals is manufactured using living systems such as microbial and mammalian cells. Due to this, their manufacture is complex. A recent review by Sia et al. published in GaBI Journal [1] has carried out an in-depth exploration of current biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes. 

Pharmacists are key to quality use of medicines for biosimilars

A commissioned review in The Pharmaceutical Journal [1] on interchangeability of biosimilars highlights the pivotal role pharmacists play in the adoption and appropriate use of biosimilars.

Clinical review of biosimilars approved in oncology

As cancer therapeutics constitutes a large proportion of the biologicals market, and patents have begun to expire, biosimilars have an important role in optimizing patient access and reducing costs in the oncology therapeutic area. Authors Ngo and Chen from the City of Hope National Medical Center, Los Angeles, USA, give an overview of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved biosimilars in oncology and their impact on the healthcare system in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy [1]. A summary of the main findings from that article follows.

Biopharmaceuticals and biosimilars: challenges in manufacture, regulation and international harmonization of GMP

Biopharmaceuticals are large molecules that are far more complex than traditional, chemical pharmaceuticals. With patent expiry for many originators, biosimilar versions are expected to flood the market in the years to come. However, the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) of all such products are manufactured using living systems which means that their manufacture and characterization is also complex.

Why biosimilar applications fail during regulatory evaluation?

The patent expirations of many blockbuster biologicals have paved the way for development of biosimilars and this has the potential to enhance access to otherwise high-cost biological therapies. Given the complexity of biologicals, the regulatory guidelines for biosimilar approval are meticulous and different from generics. Hence biosimilar developers often face issues during the application evaluation by regulatory authorities. With large number of biosimilars in development stage, it is pertinent for a manufacturer to have a deep understanding of the regulatory approval process. Rathore and colleagues from the Indian Institute of Technology offer insights into the objections raised by the regulatory authorities during evaluation of biosimilar applications for marketing authorization with special emphasis on applications reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Spectroscopy remains dominant when investigating biosimilar structures

Biopharmacological studies, including biosimilar studies, require investigation of the higher order structure of proteins. A recent review published in GaBI Journal (GABIJ) [1] has found that, although many analytical methods to determine the higher order structures exist, spectroscopic methods remain the most used.

Phase III trial updates of Samsung Bioepis’ bevacizumab and aflibercept biosimilars

Samsung Bioepis has reported positive results from a phase III trial of its bevacizumab biosimilar, Aybinto. The company is also initiating a phase III trial for its aflibercept biosimilar, SB15.

FDA to investigate PD biomarkers to show biosimilarity

The US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) is conducting research on critical aspects of the use of pharmacodynamic (PD) biomarkers to demonstrate biosimilarity. A study published in Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, has outlined how the agency hopes to inform their thinking on critical aspects of how these biomarkers can be used to reduce the need for comparative clinical studies [1]. In turn, this can reduce the time and cost of bringing a biosimilar product to market, giving faster access to affordable, safe, and effective treatments.

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