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Multi-therapy Drugs: Opportunities for Generics & Biosimilars
Date:11/2/2011

With annual sales counted in billions of dollars, these blockbuster drugs are undoubtedly attractive to companies developing generics and biosimilars. Competition is often fierce for bioequivalent generics of the big sellers. Consequently, companies are likely to be vying for a relatively small slice of the market. Nonetheless, when branded sales are counted in billions of dollars, companies could still make a significant return even with generic price erosion.

The market for biosimilars is inherently different to the traditional generics market. Market acceptance remains a big challenge and the take up of biosimilars in Europe to date has been relatively slow. Not only will companies need to convince healthcare providers that biosimilar drugs are as good as the originator products, they will also have to compete with the originator companies who are less likely to exit the market than if faced with a flood of bioequivalent generics.

Biosimilar approval for multiple indications: extrapolation or additional trials?

One question that has yet to be fully answered with regard to multi-therapy drugs is whether biosimilar approval for one indication will automatically lead to approval for all indications associated with the reference product.

In the EU - so often the leading player in biosimilar regulation - the current position seems a little vague. In November 2010, the EMA discussed extrapolation in its draft guideline on similar medicinal products containing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs: EMA/CHMP/BMWP/403543/2010). The guideline suggested the possibility of extrapolation of clinical efficacy and safety data to other indications of the reference MAb, based on the overall evidence of biosimilarity. However, the reality is unlikely to be simple, particularly when the reference product is approved in unrelated indications.

The final guideline has yet to be published and a year later the subject of extrapolation remains a major
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