Europe ready to embrace first copies of biotech cancer drugs - (Channel News Asia via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The European Medicines Agency is set to approval several biosimilars of top-selling cancer drugs, as reported Channel News Asia Wednesday.

  • Preparations have begun ahead of an expected launch of Celltrion's biosimilar of Roche's Rituxan, which will be sold in the UK by Napp Pharmaceuticals, while Mylan and Biocon could win approval for the first Herceptin biosimilar in Europe later this year.

  • Rituxan amassed $7.3 billion in global revenue last year, while Herceptin sales totalled $6.8 billion.

  • "Whether it's in the public or the private sector, we need to provide sustainable healthcare and biosimilars are clearly a good way to improve affordability," said Josep Tabernero, president-elect of the European Society of Medical Oncology.

  • Although biosimilars were initially expected to be priced at a 30-percent discount to the originator products, anti-TNF biosimilars are currently priced at a 50-percent discount, while Novartis' Sandoz unit has estimated that discounts could reach 75 percent over time.

  • "If European oncologists are offered highly effective biosimilar agents at a better price, I'm sure they will receive them extremely positively," predicted Paul Workman, chief executive of Britain's Institute of Cancer Research.

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