Novartis launches Zarxio in US at 15-percent discount to Neupogen

Novartis' Sandoz unit on Thursday announced the US launch of Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz) at a 15-percent discount to Amgen's originator product Neupogen (filgrastim). The move comes after a US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit denied Amgen's request for a temporary ban on the launch of Zarxio as the court decides whether to reconsider its previous ruling in the case.

Richard Francis, global head of Sandoz, remarked "with the launch of Zarxio, we look forward to increasing patient, prescriber and payor access to filgrastim in the US by offering a high-quality, more affordable version of this important oncology medicine." A company spokesman said Zarxio, which became the first biosimilar approved by the FDA when it was authorised in March, will have a wholesale acquisition cost of around $275 for a 300 mcg syringe and about $438 for a 480mcg syringe.

Neupogen generates annual sales of around $1.2 billion for Amgen, with the US accounting for more than 70 percent of this. Analysts at Citigroup have predicted the transfer of at least $110 billion of value from originator companies to those drugmakers producing biosimilars over the next decade.

For related analysis on the biosimilars market, see ViewPoints: Have biosimilar players won the patent-dance off? and Biosimilar Index: Tracking the Biosimilar Development Landscape.

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