Tony Hagen is senior managing editor for The Center for Biosimilars®.
The merger of Pfizer's Upjohn division and Mylan has created a biosimilars powerhouse with global reach.
A merger of Pfizer’s Upjohn division and Mylan has brought a new member into the Biosimilars Forum, a trade association of biosimilar companies that advocates for greater biosimilar adoption.
The newly combined business entity, Viatris, has joined the original 9 members of the Washington, DC–based Biosimilars Forum. Viatris’ products from Pfizer include the erectile dysfunction aid Viagra (sildenafil) and cholesterol management drug Lipitor (atorvastatin); and from Mylan, Viatris gains the epinephrine auto-injector EpiPen.
On the US scene, Mylan has been an active partner with Biocon Biologics in the distribution of the trastuzumab (Ogivri) and pegfilgrastim (Fulphila) biosimilars. Mylan and Biocon had been working jointly to obtain interchangeable and biosimilar status for an insulin glargine product (Semglee), which obtained FDA approval in June 2020 and references Sanofi’s Lantus. At the time of the merger completion, Mylan had 20 biosimilars and insulin analogs in its portfolio, which included drugs under development. These included oncology, immunology, endocrinology, dermatology, and ophthalmology agents. Mylan was not previously a member of the Biosimilars Forum.
Upjohn had a marketing foothold in Asia and emerging markets, which was expected to complement Mylan’s focus on the United States and Europe. Pfizer’s biosimilars were not a part of the Upjohn spinoff. At the merger's announcement in July 2019, it was stated that Viatris would develop biosimilars for abatacept (referencing Orencia, rheumatoid arthritis) and aflibercept (referencing Eylea, macular degeneration).
“Our biosimilars strategy continues to be focused on developing and executing on our long-term global franchise, focusing on market relevance and being a partner of choice to hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and physicians," said Tony Mauro, president of Developed Markets for Viatris. He previously served as chief commercial officer for Mylan.
Viatris is projected to form a powerhouse capable of $20 billion in worldwide revenues. The company is incorporated in Delaware and will have global centers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Shanghai, China; and Hyderabad, India.
Other members of the Biosimilars Forum are Biogen, Boehringer Ingelheim, Coherus BioSciences, Fresenius Kabi SwissBioSim, Merck and Co, Pfizer, Samsung Bioepis, Sandoz, and Teva.