Eye on Pharma: Coherus Marks 6-Month Udenyca Launch Anniversary

July 15, 2019
The Center for Biosimilars Staff

Six months after launching its biosimilar pegfilgrastim, Udenyca, Coherus BioSciences announced that it has produced more that 400,000 prefilled syringes of its product.

Six months after launching its biosimilar pegfilgrastim, Udenyca, Coherus BioSciences announced that it has produced more than 400,000 prefilled syringes of its product.

Udenyca, the second biosimilar pegfilgrastim (following Mylan and Biocon’s Fulphila) to be launched in the United States, became available commercially in January 2019. According to Vince Anicetti, Coherus’ chief operations officer, the company is on track to produce 1 million units of the biosimilar by early 2020.

Coherus also said that it expects its preliminary unaudited net sales for Udenyca during the quarter ending June 30, 2019, to be between $79 million and $84 million. The company expects to provide additional financial updates on August 1.

Earlier this year, Coherus’ chief executive officer, Dennis Lanfear, explained in a presentation at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that the company was taking a “branded approach” to the launch of the biosimilar, focusing its efforts on payers, integrated delivery networks, and group purchasing organizations that consolidate purchasing for clinics and hospitals, as well as provider segments comprising community oncology clinics, 340B hospitals, and non-340B hospitals.

Coherus also offered a substantial discount on Udenyca versus the reference Neulasta; Lanfear explained that Amgen’s wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) for Neulasta is $6231, but its average sales price (ASP) is $4422. Udenyca’s launch WAC of $4175 was an attempt to “avoid the errors of other biosimilar launches who came out with a WAC that was higher than the ASP of the originator.”

However, despite strategic launch choices, both Coherus and competitor Mylan were delivered setbacks this month when UnitedHealthcare enacted a plan to prefer brand-name pegfilgrastim over both Udenyca and Fulphila. According to UnitedHealthcare, use of Neulasta will be required before use of either biosimilar pegfilgrastim option.