Rheumatology

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.
Postmarket drug price changes alone accounted for most of the recent spending growth on biologics, and manufacturers’ rebates had little impact, according to an abstract presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s 2019 meeting, being held in Atlanta, Georgia, this week.
Over the past few years, awareness of biosimilars has been increasing; however, research presented at the American College of Rheumatology’s 2019 meeting, being held in Atlanta, Georgia, shows that while US rheumatologists hold growing awareness of biosimilars, hesitancy remains around such issues as switching stable patients and the extrapolation of indications.
On Sunday, during the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)’s 2019 meeting, being held in Atlanta, Georgia, researchers reported on the safety and efficacy of the proposed infliximab biosimilar ABP 710 in a phase 3 study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Researchers also reported on a phase 1 and 3 study of the proposed rituximab biosimilar, ABP 798, in patients with RA.
A recent study from Romania examined the efficacy and safety of biosimilar etanercept SB4 (Benepali) compared to originator etanercept in a real-life cohort of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

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