Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim launch Lantus biosimilar in UK

August 28, 2015 2:13 PM

Sanofi is facing further competition to its big-selling insulin drug Lantus in the UK, with Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim launching a biosimilar version, reports PMLiVE.

The biosimilar – called Abasaglar – is available as a 100 units/mL solution for injection in a cartridge or pen injector, with a list price of £35.28 for a five pack in each case. That compares with a price of £41.50 for five Lantus cartridges, according to a Lilly spokeswoman, and is a 15% discount.

Lantus (insulin glargine) is the top-selling basal insulin in the world but competition from biosimilars and newer brands has started to eat into sales, which fell more than 5% to €3.3bn in the first six months of the year.

Lilly and Boehringer’s biosimilar was approved in Europe last September and introduced in some Eastern Europe markets earlier this year – including the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Estonia where pricing has also been set at around a 15%-20% discount to Sanofi’s brand.

However, the UK launch of Abasaglar – which follows its approval last September – marks the first competition to Lantus in a major EU pharma market.

For Sanofi, the increased competition to Lantus increases the urgency of its efforts to switch patients to Toujeo, a longer-acting version of insulin glargine which was approved in April has just been launched in the UK at the same price per day as Lantus.

While still early days, the French pharma major says switching to Toujeo is gaining momentum thanks to a strong label claim versus Lantus.

Lantus is also being squeezed by Novo Nordisk’s rival basal insulin Levemir (insulin detemir) which has been growing strongly with sales approaching $2.5bn last year, while Merck & Co and Samsung Bioepis are also working on an insulin glargine biosimilar which is in late-stage development.

Source: PMLiVE

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