Drugmakers take unorthodox route to boosting biosimilars

(Ref: Financial Times)
  • Drugmakers have taken radical steps to increase the uptake of biosimilars, Financial Times reported Wednesday.

  • In one such instance, Novartis' Sandoz unit collaborated with a UK hospital to switch patients to a biosimilar of Roche's Rituxan without assurances that the institution, which later switched to a biosimilar manufactured by Napp Pharmaceutical, would continue to use its product.

  • Meanwhile, biosimilars of AbbVie's Humira could be launched this year, while biosimilars of Roche's Avastin and Herceptin are currently approved.

  • Mylan global biologics head Chrys Kokino, who noted that the drugmaker is committed to the biosimilar space, cautioned "if we go down this [route] of triggering price wars between manufacturers, ultimately‚Ķsome manufacturers may believe that the price has become so low that they will either exit the market or they will selectively only enter certain markets."

  • "Biosimilars aren't like small molecule generics, you're talking about eight to nine years to develop them to bring them to market and $100 million to $200 million of investment; [versus] a small molecule which is more of a one to three years and more into the low single-digit millions to bring them to market," explained Jenny Alltoft, head of global biosimilars at Pfizer.

  • Additionally, Sandoz aims to introduce five biosimilars by 2020, mostly in oncology and immunology.

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