Hospira launches first biosimilar monoclonal antibody Inflectra (infliximab) in major European markets

February 17, 2015 7:54 AM

Hospira, Inc., announced the launch of the first biosimilar monoclonal antibody, Inflectra (infliximab), in major European markets.

Inflectra is licensed for the treatment of inflammatory conditions including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, adult and paediatric Crohn’s disease, adult and paediatric ulcerative colitis and plaque psoriasis.

Biologic medicines have transformed the lives of people living with chronic inflammatory conditions, such as RA and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). However, biologics are responsible for some of the biggest medicinal costs across Europe and these high costs can restrict access to treatment. For example, it has been estimated that 40% of RA patients in Europe have severely restricted access to biologic treatment. Inflectra can offer a cost-effective alternative while maintaining the same quality, safety and efficacy as the reference product.

“With more and more people living with chronic inflammatory diseases like RA, we need to find more cost-effective treatment solutions without compromising on quality, safety or efficacy. Biosimilars could offer one such solution – savings could mean we can treat more patients within the same healthcare budget,” said Professor Josef Smolen, Chairman of the Division of Rheumatology at Medical University of Vienna. “Biosimilars that underwent assessment and approval by the European Commission have been included in the latest EULAR treatment recommendations.”

Infliximab is a cornerstone treatment for many inflammatory diseases, with over 15 years’ worth of clinical data and experience. Inflectra is a biosimilar medicine to the reference product, Remicade® (infliximab), and is the first biosimilar mAb to be approved by the European Commission (EC). A biosimilar developed in-line with EU requirements can be considered a therapeutic alternative to an existing biologic.

Remicade (infliximab) has been authorized in the EU since 1999 and recorded European sales of almost €2 billion in 2013. The savings generated by introducing competition in the marketplace could save the European healthcare system millions of Euros, with biosimilars expected to produce savings of over €20 billion by 2020.

“Inflectra has already been launched in Central and Eastern Europe, and some smaller Western European markets due to earlier patent expiry, and has already been prescribed to treat patients in all its licensed indications. We are delighted that the remaining European countries, including many of the major EU countries, will now benefit from the availability of Inflectra. This supports Hospira’s commitment to provide patients with better access to high-quality, more affordable care,” said Paul Greenland, Vice President Biologics, Hospira.

Inflectra received its license from the EC in September 2013, following adoption of the EMA Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) positive recommendation for granting marketing authorization. Review by the EMA included detailed analysis of biophysical properties and safety, efficacy and tolerability data from an extensive preclinical and clinical trial program.

Inflectra is being launched in several major European markets, including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. With the launch of the product in these new markets, Inflectra is now available in 24 European countries. Hospira’s partner, Celltrion, has also submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for biosimilar infliximab.

Source: Hospira press release


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