[THE INVESTOR] Korea’s biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion seeks to launch its version of Roche’s blockbuster cancer therapy Avastin at a highly competitive price to compete with other biosimilar makers making much faster progress.
Celltrion, which was the first to enter European markets with its biosimilars of Remicade and Rituxan, plans to implement a deep-discount pricing strategy for its version of Avastin called CT-P16.
Celltrion eyes bigger share in Japan’s Remicade market
“We plan to boost our production efficiency compared to competitors and implement a low-cost strategy … as the competition for Avastin biosmilar has become fierce,” Celltrion Chairman Seo Jeong-jin said during an extraordinary general meeting held on Sept. 29.
Avastin is a blockbuster chemotherapy made by Genentech and sold by Roche that brought in US$6.7 billion in sales in 2016. It will lose US patent protection in July 2019 while its European patent expires in January 2020.
The relatively slow progress in developing CT-P16, currently undergoing phase 1 clinical trial, has prompted Celltrion to consider deeper discounts.
In September, the US regulator gave marketing approval to Amen and Allergan’s Mvasi, a biosimilar of Avastin for the original drug’s indications such as treating colorectal, lung, brain, kidney and cervical cancers. The decision enables the biosimilar makers to grab some of the US$3 billion in sales the branded drug raked in the US last year.
Other pharmaceutical firms such as Samsung Bioepis and Boehringer Ingelheim are also eyeing the lucrative market with their versions undergoing the final phase 3 clinical studies.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)