Celltrion said it gained approval from Australia to begin selling Remsima, its biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co.'s rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade, reported The Korea Herald.
Industry observers expect Celltrion to quickly gain a strong market share in the country, which "is favorable to low-cost biosimilars given that the government mandates firms to publicly share their drug pricing to promote price competition," according to Eugene Investment & Securities analyst Shin Jae-hoon.
Celltrion, in partnership with Hospira, set a milestone in the pharmaceutical industry in February by launching sales of Remsima, also known as Infectra, across Europe, including in the UK, France and Germany.
The introduction of the biosimilar, which is up to 45 percent cheaper than the original, has already led to a decline in regional sales for Remicade.
Faced with new competition in Europe, Johnson & Johnson saw its second-quarter sales of Remicade outside the US fall to $580 million, compared to $783 million a year earlier.
Merck, which handles marketing of Remicade in Europe, saw sales of the drug decline by 25 percent to $455 million in the second quarter, as more European doctors reportedly chose to prescribe the biosimilar version.