Pfizer unveils plans to launch Remicade biosimilar Inflectra in US next month

Pfizer on Monday disclosed that it will launch Inflectra (infliximab-dyyb), a biosimilar version of Johnson & Johnson's and Merck & Co.'s Remicade (infliximab), in the US in late November. Pfizer indicated that the therapy will be introduced at a 15-percent discount to the current wholesaler acquisition cost of Remicade. 

Inflectra was cleared by the FDA in April, marking the second approval of a biosimilar in the US following the authorisation of Novartis' Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz) last year. Celltrion developed Inflectra under the terms of an agreement with Hospira in 2009, which Pfizer purchased last year. 

In August, a US federal court invalidated a patent covering Remicade. Johnson & Johnson, which has appealed the ruling, suggested that any sales of Inflectra in the US could be an "at risk launch," entitling the company to damages if the ruling is overturned. 

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Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson said it plans to be competitive with the biosimilar. "We intend to compete through a variety of innovative contracting options, discounts and rebates to payers, providers and pharmacy benefit managers, to ensure Remicade remains an affordable option for patients and physicians," the drugmaker stated. Sales of Remicade total about $5 billion annually. 

For related analysis about the biosimilars market, see Spotlight On: Biosimilars – what lessons for the US market can we learn from Europe? See also, The Future of Biosimilars 2016.

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