CVS Health Corporation launched Cordavis, a new subsidiary that will work with manufacturers to commercialize and coproduce biosimilars, beginning with an adalimumab product.
CVS Health Corporation announced that it is launching a new subsidiary (Cordavis), which will work directly with manufacturers to commercialize and coproduce biosimilars.
“As the U.S. pharmaceutical environment continues to evolve, biosimilars represent one of the biggest opportunities for reducing drug costs for employers and consumers. Through Cordavis, CVS Health intends to develop a portfolio of products that it expects will facilitate broader access to biosimilars in the U.S. — creating more competition that drives down prices — while encouraging investment in future products,” wrote CVS in a statement.
The goal behind the new company is to serve as the biologics equivalent of CVS’ generics division, where generic drugs are marketed with CVS’ brand name (ex. CVS-branded acetaminophen vs Tylenol). Cordavis will partner with Sandoz and will put its own label on Sandoz’ biosimilars, beginning with Hyrimoz, Sandoz’ adalimumab biosimilar referencing Humira. The list price of the product is over 80% lower than the current list price of Humira ($6,922 for a 4-week supply).
Savings from biosimilars are expected to rise from around $10 billion in 2022 to over $100 billion by 2029.
“Biosimilars are crucial to creating competition and reducing costs for specialty pharmaceuticals where drug prices are rising the fastest…. Through our direct involvement, we will expand the supply chain and ensure biosimilar availability in the market. We have assembled a talented team at Cordavis and look forward to the value this business will deliver to patients and payors,” commented Prem Shah, chief pharmacy officer and co-president of the Pharmacy and Consumer Wellness segment.
One of the biggest challenges Cordavis will face is uptake as little is known about how US patients will be receptive to pharmacy benefit biosimilars, according to Anjalee Khemlani, a reporter for Yahoo Finance Health Care, in a Yahoo Finance video interview about the announcement. Uptake has been relatively low for infliximab and insulin biosimilars compared to biosimilars in the oncology space, and adalimumab biosimilars have only been on the US market since January 2023.
“Now, they're not going to be making these products themselves. Of course, we know they're quite complex biologics. So there's no internal [research and development expenses] going on there, but there could be some end of the manufacturing process involved for them…. [There’s] a lot going into this announcement. But definitely one of those things where we have to see how it rolls out, what the uptake is, and certainly which partners they end up choosing.”
The news came after CVS announced layoffs for 5000 employees in early August 2023. The layoffs will begin in October 2023 and are part of an ongoing reduction measure as the company faces pressures regarding integrating recent multi-billion dollar deals, according to a report from Healthcare Dive. The affected jobs will mostly be at the corporate level; customer-facing jobs, such as store or clinic employees, will not be affected.