[THE INVESTOR] Inflectra, Celltrion’s version of Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade, posted robust US sales growth in the first quarter, according to its distribution partner Pfizer’s financial report on May 1.
Revenue of the biosimilar -- known as Remsima in Europe and Asia -- more than tripled to US$55 million in the first three months from US$17 million in the same period last year.
“We saw operational growth in biosimilars, mainly driven by Inflectra in developed European nations as well as certain channels in the US,” Pfizer CFO Frank A. D’Amelio said during a conference call on the company’s first-quarter earnings.
Pfizer began selling Celltrion’s copycat version referencing J&J’s rheumatoid arthritis drug in the US from November 2016.
Despite the spike in sales, Inflectra’s US market penetration remains insignificant as J&J’s original drug continues to dominate, generating US$916 million in the first quarter.
“The biosimilar penetration, particlularly that of Inflectra, is 56 percent in Europe. In the US, our share is 6 percent, so there is something wrong with that,” Pfizer COO Albert Bourla said in a response to a question on the company’s stance on FDA’s recent move to stimulate biosimilar uptake and development.
“We are very encouraged by the words of Food and Drug Administration and the Trump administration. We can just wait now to translate these words into tangible actions that can reverse the situation,” he said.
In Europe, Inflectra has overtaken Remicade as of end-2017 in three years since its launch, based on data from health care information provider IQVIA.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)