Pfizer poised to launch three biosimilars in coming months

By | January 29, 2020

If all goes according to plan, Pfizer will have launched three biosimilars in as many months.

On Thursday, Pfizer announced the entry of its latest copycat biologic, Ruxience, into the U.S. market. Ruxience is a version of Roche’s blockbuster cancer drug Rituxan and carries a list price of $ 71.68 per 10 mg, or 24% lower than the reference product’s list price.

The Ruxience launch comes less than a month after Pfizer ushered to the U.S. market Zirabev, a biosimilar of Roche’s Avastin, and about two weeks before the big pharma intends to introduce a biosimilar of Roche’s Herceptin. Zirabev’s $ 61.34 per 10 mg list price is 23% lower than Avastin’s, while the price tag on Pfizer’s Herceptin copycat, branded as Trazimera, is set at $ 80.74 per 10 mg, representing a 24% discount.

With Zirabev now on sale, the U.S. has two dozen marketed biosimilars. The number grew quickly over the last year as seven products entered the market in 2019 — including Amgen’s Mvasi and Kanjinti, which are also copycats of Roche’s Avastin and Herceptin, respectively.

Roche finds more U.S. biosimilar competition with Pfizer launches.
Biosimilar brand nameDeveloperReference productLaunched yet in U.S?
OntruzantSamsung BioepisHerceptinNo
TrazimeraPfizerHerceptinNo (scheduled for Feb. 15)

SOURCE: FDA, company releases

As the U.S. biosimilars market matures, Roche looks to be an early barometer of its impact. That’s already been the case in other geographies such as Europe, where the biosimilar market has had longer to develop.

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Over the first nine months of 2019, revenue from Herceptin and Rituxan was about $ 1 billion less across Europe and Japan than it was during the same period a year prior. Roche hopes that new product launches in breast cancer, multiple sclerosis and hemophilia will offset a significant portion of the pending declines to Herceptin, Rituxan and Avastin — each a multibillion-dollar franchise.

Though biosimilar competition is heating up in U.S., Pfizer has been critical of how long it’s taken.

In the summer of 2018, the company blamed the slow adoption of biosimilars in the states on “scare tactics” used by other large pharmaceutical developers. Pfizer claimed the dissemination of “false and misleading information that casts doubt about the safety and efficacy of biosimilars in the minds of patients and prescribers.”

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