The biosimilar pegfilgrastim marketplace may have taken another hit today, as Biocon announced that it was pulling its applications for both pegfilgrastim and trastuzumab from consideration by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The action came after Biocon was notified of the need for re-inspection of its manufacturing site by the European authorities. According to Reuters, Biocon said in a stock filing, “The European regulatory authorities had informed us of the need for a re-inspection of our drug product facility for these products,” Biocon said, without specifying when the regulator would carry out the inspection.
“We are on track to complete our corrective action and preventive actions by the end of this quarter, and it is our intent to seek re-inspection and re-submission thereafter.”
In another report, a Biocon spokesperson stated that “Whilst our drug substance facilities for trastuzumab and pegfilgrastim were approved, the European regulatory authorities had informed us of the need for a re-inspection of our drug product facility for these products. The request for withdrawal of the dossiers and re-submission is part of the EMA procedural requirements linked to this re-inspection and will be considered by the EMA’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP),” said the company spokesperson.
This action could potentially create considerable problems for the partners Mylan and Biocon. They have the opportunity to be first-to-market in the US with regard to both biosimilar products. Their biosimilar trastuzumab application received a unanimous recommendation to approve from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Oncology Drug Advisory Committtee in July, and a final decision is imminent (expected before September 3). The partners’ biosimilar pegfilgrastim application is expected by October 9th. Although the FDA usually rules according to its Advisory Committee recommendations, manufacturing plant problems has resulted in at least one surprising rejection, for Pfizer’s Retacrit®. Pegfilgrastim applications have not yet made it through the FDA approval process, after three previous attempts.
Information is not readily available as to whether the Biocon plant that is subject to re-inspection would potentially be supplying products to the US. If so, the FDA may decide to review the situation, and possibly delay their decision or issue complete response letters on the two products.