Biosimilar Check-in: PBM to Cover Adalimumab Biosimilars; World’s First Denosumab Biosimilar; Organon Launches in Canada

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Organon Canada launches 2 biosimilars referencing Avastin (bevacizumab) and Herceptin (trastuzumab), China became the first country to approve a denosumab biosimilar, and Optum Rx, a large pharmacy benefit manager (PBM), said that it will add adalimumab biosimilars to formulary.

Organon Canada launches 2 biosimilars referencing Avastin (bevacizumab) and Herceptin (trastuzumab), China became the first country to approve a denosumab biosimilar, and Optum Rx, a large pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) said that it will add adalimumab biosimilars to formulary.

Optum Rx to Cover Adalimumab Biosimilars

UnitedHealth’s pharmacy benefit manager, Optum Rx, announced that it will add 3 adalimumab biosimilars to it formulary list when they launch on the US market in 2023, according to a report from Forbes.

Currently, there are 7 FDA-approved adalimumab biosimilars referencing Humira, and 3 more are under review. One is planned to launch in January 2023 and the rest are scheduled to launch in July 2023.

Within the report, Forbes said that Humira costs $50,000 per year per patient and that Optum Rx’s announcement could mean that thousands of patients could “be shifted” in 2023 to a cheaper biosimilar alternative, saving “Optum Rx clients and the US healthcare system potentially billion of dollars a year.”

The PBM will still have the reference product on its formulary but will be covered at parity to the biosimilars. Optum Rx disclosed their announcement during the HLTH 2022 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

China Approves World’s First Denosumab Biosimilar

According to a report from Big Molecule Watch, China’s National Medical Products Administration approved a Boyobei, making China the first country to approve a denosumab biosimilar referencing Prolia/Xgeva. The product was developed by Luye Pharma Group and it will be used in the treatment of postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who are at a high risk of fractures.

Luye Pharma Group developed Boyobei in conjunction with Boan Biotech, its subsidiary. Denosumab products are fully-human immunoglobulin G2 monoclonal antibodies that binds to RANKL, reducing resportive bone long increasing bone strength, and reducing fractures as a result.

Luye Pharma Group plans to seek approval for Boyobei in the European Union and the United States along with other global markets.

Organon Launches 2 Biosimilars in Canada

Organon’s Canadian division, Organon Canada, announced the launches of 2 oncology biosimilars on the Canadian market: a bevacizumab (Aybintio) and a trastuzumab (Ontruzant).

Aybintio references Avastin and will be used to treat patients with a variety of cancers, including colorectal cancer; non-small cell lung cancer; ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancer; and malignant glioma glioblastoma. Ontruzant references Herceptin and will be used in the treatment of early breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, and metastatic gastric cancer.

“Particularly during Global Biosimilars Week, we recognize that many patients across Canada require more affordable treatment options,” said Michael Casia, president and managing director of Organon Canada, in a statement on the launch of Ontruzant.

The news comes shortly after Saskatchewan announced that it will become the sixth Canadian province to implement a biosimilars switching policy. Additionally, Viatris and Biocon Biologics launched their bevacizumab biosimilar, Abevmy, in Canada in May 2022. Aybintio was also approved in the European Union in August 2020.

“The impact of COVID-19 continues to put pressure and strain on our healthcare system across Canada. The adoption of biosimilars that are available at a reduced cost, such as Aybintio®, can help alleviate these burdens,” Casia commented in a statement on the launch of Aybintio.

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