Partners Hospira, Inc. and Celltrion Healthcare have launched a biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson’s autoimmune drug Remicade across major European markets.
Together, the companies are launching their biosimilar products in twelve European markets, including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
Celltrion and partner Napp Pharmaceuticals’ Remsima (infliximab) is the world’s first biosimilar monoclonal antibody (mAb) to be approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and is indicated for the treatment of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) mAb is used for reducing inflammation and improving other symptoms of the diseases for which it is indicated. In partnership with Celltrion, Hospira is launching its biosimilar mAb under its own brand name Inflectra.
Copycat versions of Remicade have been available in smaller European markets, such as Norway, for several months. However, the move into major economies is a big step forward for the products. Remicade generates annual sales of nearly $6.9 billion, with annual European sales of roughly 2 billion euros.
Hospira, soon to be a subsidiary of Pfizer, is working with Celltrion to bring a Remicade biosimilar to the US market. An advisory panel meeting assessing the drug is scheduled for March 17th.
“I am delighted that we now have access to Inflectra, the first biosimilar monoclonal antibody, as it could help make biologic treatment more cost effective for the NHS and provide further opportunities to help patients get their disease under control,” said Professor Ernest Choy, Head of Rheumatology and Translational Research at Cardiff University School of Medicine and Director of the Arthritis Research UK CREATE Centre and Welsh Arthritis Research Network.
Biologics have had a positive impact on patient treatment, however the high costs associated with biologics puts a considerable burden on healthcare systems and can affect patient access to treatment. Biosimilars can offer cost savings for health services, especially since they are often used to treat chronic conditions. Additionally, biosimilars may help to increase patient access to treatment and allow individuals to be treated earlier in their disease pathway.
“Autoimmune diseases can have a devastating impact on people’s lives so we are proud that Remsima is available for patients across the European Union, offering them a more accessible treatment option to manage their disease,” said Dr. Stanley Hong, President of Celltrion Healthcare.
Sources: Celltrion Healthcare; Hospira, Inc.