Sandoz’ rituximab biosimilar coming to the EU

May 25, 2016 6:59 AM

Sandoz, a Novartis division, announced that the European Medicines Agency has accepted their Marketing Authorization Application for a biosimilar to Roche’s EU-licensed MabThera® (rituximab).

Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that is used to treat non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which includes follicular lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Sandoz is seeking approval for the same indications as the reference product.

“Patients with hematologic or blood cancers and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as their doctors, often have few treatment options and have long relied on rituximab as a vital part of their treatment,” said Richard Francis, Division Head and CEO of Sandoz. “If approved, we believe our biosimilar rituximab will help broaden access to this important therapy and liberate healthcare resources that can be used to fund other innovative medicines.”

Sandoz believes that the totality of data in its submission will demonstrate that their biosimilar rituximab has essentially the same biological substance as, and the final drug product is highly similar to, the reference product. In addition to analytical, functional and pre-clinical data, the submission includes data from two pivotal confirmatory safety, PK/PD and efficacy studies that involved 629 follicular lymphoma and 173 rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Sandoz is committed to increasing patient access to high-quality, life-enhancing biosimilars. Biosimilar rituximab is part of Sandoz’ growing oncology and immunology portfolios. The oncology portfolio includes two marketed products (filgrastim and epoetin-alfa) and biosimilar candidate pegfilgrastim, which is under regulatory review in the US and EU. This announcement marks the sixth of 10 regulatory filings that the company plans to submit over a three-year period (2015-2017).

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