Biosimilar Rituximab Under FDA Review

Celltrion announced June 30, 2017 that it has submitted its 351(k) application to the Food and Drug Administration for approval of its biosimilar version of rituximab. This represents the first biosimilar application for rituximab, a monoclonal antibody to CD20.

The product, known during investigations as CT-P10, was approved in the European Union in February, and has been launched there as Truxima in late April. Clinical data have been presented on this biosimilar’s efficacy and safety in treating rheumatoid arthritis and advanced follicular lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

If approved, Celltrion will market this product with Teva in North America, which signed a partnership agreement with Celltrion in October 2016 for this biosimilar agent to treat cancer and for CT-P6 (trastuzumab). The FDA application for trastuzumab is expected to be filed this summer. It is currently partnered with Pfizer to market its product Inflectra® (infliximab-dyyb) in the US and Canada.

Also in June, Sandoz received approval from the European Medicines Agency to market its own version of rituximab, called Rixathon™.

In other biosimilar news…Coherus Biosciences, which took hits from the FDA and its investors in the rejection of its pegfilgrastim biosimilar in June, laid off 51 workers (about 30% of its workforce) in an effort to cut costs. Coherus is working towards addressing the issues outlined in FDA’s Complete Response Letter on pegfilgrastim. In its letter, FDA did not require additional clinical studies. In the meantime, Coherus still is seeking to file its biosimilar etanercept for approval in Europe later this year, and its version of adalimumab in the US in early 2018. However, John Carroll reported that Coherus’ clinical development partner on etanercept in Japan, Daiichi Sankyo, has decided to pull out because of concerns that Coherus will not be able to manufacture the product.