Rheumatology

An editorial, recently published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, discussed the results of a study that found that an adalimumab (Humira) concentration-based tapering strategy was not inferior to the conservative strategy, conducted over 26 weeks.
Sandoz, a division of Novartis, announced today that the FDA has accepted its Biologics License Application (BLA) for a proposed adalimumab biosimilar (referencing AbbVie’s Humira).
A recent research letter, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, reports that a biosimilar of etanercept, SB4 (approved as Benepali in the European Union and Brenzys in The Republic of Korea, Canada, and Australia), is associated with fewer injection-site reactions and less immunogenicity than reference etanercept (Enbrel), while maintaining equivalent efficacy. 
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who require a change in therapy from anti–tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (anti-TNF) treatments to biologics with a different mechanism of action (MOA) had higher treatment persistence and lower healthcare costs than patients who cycled anti-TNF drugs, resulting in lower healthcare costs per persistent patient among the MOA switchers, a recent study finds.
Novartis announced today that it is initiating the SURPASS trial, a head-to-head clinical trial of secukinumab (Cosentyx) versus a proposed biosimilar adalimumab (referencing Humira and being developed by Sandoz, a Novartis division) in patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
Australian biosimilar developer NeuClone has announced that it is developing a proposed biosimilar denosumab (referenced on Amgen’s Prolia, Xgeva).
Momenta Pharmaceuticals’ M923, a proposed adalimumab (Humira) biosimilar, showed bioequivalent pharmacokinetics (PK) and similar safety and tolerability to both EU- and US-licensed Humira in healthy subjects, according to findings from a phase 1 study published today in Pharmacology Research and Perspectives.
 
While the European experience with biosimilars is one of significant uptake of biosimilars, individual European nations have had distinctly different levels of uptake. These differences are largely due to local variation in pricing and reimbursement, education levels, population characteristics, and stakeholder incentives.
AbbVie is increasing Humira's price by 9.7%. That price increase could add $1.2 billion to the US healthcare system’s drug costs in 2018, according to one analyst. 
Today, Indian drug maker Hetero launched a biosimilar of adalimumab (referenced on Humira, made by AbbVie) to be marketed in India under the name Mabura. This is the fourth biosimilar Hetero has brought to the Indian market.


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