Rheumatology

Biosimilar infliximab CT-P13 (Inflectra, Remsima) has been the subject of numerous studies since its authorization in multiple regulatory territories, and this month, data from the Korean College of Rheumatology Biologics (KOBIO) registry add to the growing body of knowledge about this biosimilar’s use in patients with rheumatoid arthritis in routine clinical practice.
A recent review explored the evidence of monoclonal antibodies (mAb) and fusion proteins (FP) to examine their safety and efficacy in the most common chronic inflammatory diseases in children—bronchial asthma, psoriasis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).
The FDA has approved Pfizer’s adalimumab biosimilar, Abrilada (adalimumab-afzb), referencing Humira.
As the only anti–tumor necrosis factor therapies currently available to US patients with inflammatory diseases, biosimilars of infliximab are increasingly used to treat diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. While there are a wealth of data on real-world use of these products in territories like the European Union, less research has examined their use in the United States. During the American College of Rheumatology’s 2019 meeting, held this week in Atlanta, Georgia, researchers reported on the results of 3 studies that assessed real-world use of biosimilar infliximab in the US context.
The lead author said the results indicate that biologics can be used in older patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) as effectively as in those who are younger.
While US patients continue to wait for a biosimilar etanercept to become commercially available, real-world data continue to amass for Samsung Bioepis’ biosimilar, SB4, in European clinical practice. The biosimilar, sold as Benepali in the European context, was the subject of several studies presented this week at the American College of Rheumatology’s 2019 meeting, held in Atlanta, Georgia.
Among the first biosimilars to gain US approval was Sandoz’s etanercept biosimilar, GP2015, or Erelzi. The product was authorized by the FDA in 2016, but it has not yet launched in the US market due to long-running patent disputes related to Amgen’s innovator product, Enbrel. In other markets, however, the biosimilar is a widely used treatment option, and data presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s 2019 meeting, held this week in Atlanta, Georgia, show that not only is the biosimilar safe and effective in real-world practice in ex-US markets, but it could also bring about substantial savings in the United States once it becomes available.
Elaine Husni, MD, MPH, vice chair and director of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Center in the Orthopedic and Rheumatologic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, discusses how comfortable rheumatologists are with using biosimilars. 
The results will inform will inform counseling and management of pregnant women with inflammatory diseases who need tofacitinib or non-tumor necrosis factor inhibitors  during pregnancy, said the author.
Improvements in biosimilars—ones that may give them an advantage such as lower immunogenicity or a new route of administration—may be the key to unlocking a better patient experience, according to Celltrion. In fact, pursuing such so-called “biobetters” may prove to be more important for the drug maker than pursuing interchangeable biosimilars.

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