Eye on Pharma: Similis Bio Launch, Biocon Biologics Sets Sights on Malaysian Biosimilar Market

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New biosimilars are on the way, as JSR Life Sciences launches its business division (Similis Bio) that will improve efficiency and costs related to biosimilar development and Biocon Biologics signs a contract for commercialization in Malaysia.

New biosimilars are on the way, as JSR Life Sciences launches its business division (Similis Bio) that will improve efficiency and costs related to biosimilar development and Biocon Biologics signs a contract for commercialization in Malaysia.

JSR Life Sciences Launches Similis Bio

JSR Life Sciences announced the launch of its new business division, Similis Bio, which will function as a partnering program to work with biopharmaceutical companies to improve efficiency and reduce costs related to biosimilar development.

Similis will be able to supply companies with data to help them make decisions on which biosimilars to develop, accelerate early program development, and reduce costs for conducting analyses.

Additionally, the division will foster codevelopment agreements with companies to develop programs for biosimilars, where partners would receive exclusive right, not an obligation, to purchase multiple programs. JSR designed Similis’ collaboration model so that risks of cancelled programs and extended market analysis timelines were mitigated.

“This model will enable changes in strategy far beyond traditional drug development approaches by centralizing reference product data and expertise under one roof…. Similis brings the broad expertise of JSR Life Sciences companies together to jump-start the development of promising biosimilars. By improving timelines and development costs for drug makers, more biosimilars can be brought to market faster. Ultimately, that means more choice and lower costs for patients,” said Jean-Pierre Wery, chief technology officer at JSR Life Sciences.

Biocon Biologics Sets Sights on Malaysian Insulin Market

According to a company statement, Biocon Biologics’ Malaysian subsidiary (Biocon Sdn Bhd) has been awarded a 3-year tender contract of $90 million for its recombinant human insulin product, Insugen, by the Ministry of Health in Malaysia.

Diabetes affects about 3.9 million adults in Malaysia, and the number of people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) has seen great growth over the past 2 decades, increasing from 8.3% of the population in 1996 to 20% in 2019, nearly half of whom were unaware they had T2D. The diabetes population is expected to grow to over 36 million by 2025, amounting to 31.3% of the population. In 2010 alone, about $600 million was spent on diabetes-related health care in the country, approximately 16% of the total national health care budget. About 420,000 patients with diabetes are treated with recombinant human insulin throughout Malaysia.

“We are pleased to renew our commitment to provide affordable access to our recombinant human insulin for people with diabetes in Malaysia through this new government contract. This will enable us to serve over 400,000 people with diabetes using recombinant human insulin, helping the government in its journey towards equitable access to diabetes care,” said Susheel Umesh, chief commercial officer of emerging marketing at Biocon Biologics.

Biocon Sdn Bhd will manufacture and supply its insulin to its commercialization partner Duopharma Marketing Sdn BhD, a subsidiary of Duopharma Biotech, a leading biopharmaceutical company in Malaysia.

Insugen will be available to patients at all Ministry of Health hospitals, district health offices, and health clinics in the country. The news comes after Biocon Biologics insulin glargine biosimilar (Basalog) was awarded a multiministry contract worth $4.2 million for 2 years in September 2021.

“We have been partnering with the Malaysian government since 2016 and have expanded access to life-saving insulin therapy for patients with diabetes. Since our entry to Malaysia in 2011, prices of human insulin have dropped over 20% and insulinization has also improved by 30%. As the only insulin manufacturer in Malaysia, we have been able to achieve insulin self-sufficiency and improved access while providing savings to our partner – [Ministry of Health], Malaysia,” said Kiran Kumar Gandhirajan, senior vice president and site head at Biocon Std Bhd.

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