Novartis aims to nearly triple biosimilar drugs on market by 2020 - (Yahoo!Finance via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Novartis' Sandoz unit aims to market eight biosimilars by 2020, compared with three now, as reported in Yahoo!Finance.

  • Sandoz division head Richard Francis indicated that his company's versions of AbbVie's Humira, Amgen's Enbrel and Neulasta, Johnson & Johnson's Remicade and Roche's Rituxan, which had combined sales of $44 billion in 2015, could be launched over the next four years. "We think we can become a real partner for payers and healthcare systems in making sure they can manage their budgets," he said.

  • Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez predicts biosimilars may cost 75 percent less than the drugs they mimic, a steeper discount than initially thought, according to the news source. Further, what he loses on price, Jimenez plans to make up in volume.

  • However, persuading physicians remains a work in progress, remarked Sandoz's head of global biopharmaceutical development Marc McCamish, noting that when many US doctors hear regulatory terms like "highly similar," they interpret that to mean "different." He said "those are terms we constantly have to fight."

  • In regards to Sandoz's planned launches through 2020, biosimilars head Carol Lynch declined to specify a particular launch schedule, or say which would be first. She said that is partly in regulators' hands, with at least eight biosimilars, including from other companies, awaiting FDA approval.

  • The European Medicines Agency has approved more than 20 biosimilar drugs, including three from Novartis since 2006, while the US regulator has cleared two, namely Zarxio last September, and more recently, Celltrion's version of Remicade for autoimmune diseases.

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