Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim launched Basaglar, a biosimilar referencing Sanofi’s blockbuster insulin drug Lantus, in South Korea on April 13, reported The Investor of South Korea.
The drug, Basaglar KwikPen, designed as a pen-shaped self-injection device, is a long-acting basal insulin for the treatment of adults and children with type 1 diabetes mellitus and adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Although the drug received approval from Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in November 2015, its domestic launch was delayed reportedly due to price negotiations between the drug’s developers and the local government, the source reports.
Basaglar will compete with its reference drug Lantus (insulin glargline) as well as second-generation insulin drugs like Sanofi’s Toujeo (insulin glargline) and Novo Nordisk’s Tresiba (insulin degludec). Basaglar is priced at 10,714 won (US$9.50) per pen (300 international units per milliliter) which is around 14 percent cheaper than Lantus, priced at 12,245 won.
Basaglar is currently around 20 percent cheaper than next-generation insulin drugs Toujeo, priced at 12,870 won, and around 97 percent cheaper than Tresiba, priced at 21,095 won, according to local reports.
Looking ahead, two other biosimilars referencing Lantus are also approaching commercialization in Korea — one developed by MSD with partial funding from Samsung Bioepis, and another developed by India-based Biocon and locally marketed by Green Cross. MSD’s Lusduna was approved by the EMA in January and is currently awaiting approval by the US FDA. The drug is also under review by the Korean Drug Ministry.
Korea’s Green Cross acquired the local licensing rights to a Lantus biosimilar developed by India-based Biocon in November 2016, and has filed the drug for approval in Korea.
Sources: The Korea Herals, The Investor