MILAN South Korean biopharmaceutical company Celltrion Inc. is known in Europe for its biosimilar products such as the autoimmune disease treatment Remsima; blood cancer treatment Truxima; and the breast cancer drug Herzuma.
Referring to Janssens Remicade, an anti-inflammatory drug for diseases of the immune system, Celltrions Remsima holds more than half of the European market for this biosimilar, also known as infliximab, its active ingredient.
With its intravenous injection type Remsima IV already among the best-selling infliximab products in the region, Remsima SC, a type of subcutaneous injection, is also rapidly becoming a sought-after biosimilar due to its convenience.
Remsima SC is the world’s first and only infliximab available as a subcutaneous injection for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease and psoriasis.
With the previous IV formulation, patients had to visit the hospital every three months to evaluate their condition. After switching to SC, however, if patients are doing well, they only need to come once a year, said Dr. Raj Sengupta of the UK’s Royal United Hospitals Bath.
Speaking at a European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR) symposium hosted by Celltrion on Infliximab IV to SC – Mainstay Therapy in Rheumatology, he said that Remsima SC demonstrated superiority over infliximab type IV in clinical trials for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
The rheumatologist said he even recommends the SC type to patients on their first visit.
LONGER LASTING EFFECTIVENESS
Another speaker, Dr Roberto Giacomelli of Italy’s Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital, said Remsima SC showed longer-lasting efficacy on patients with rheumatism than those treated with type IV infliximab.
Switching from intravenous to subcutaneous injection means lower pharmacological costs, he said.
Celltrion said in January that Remsima, a biosimilar monoclonal antibody, was approved in more than 100 countries around the world.
Last month, Celltrion Healthcare Co., the global marketing arm of Korean biosimilar makers, said it was also launching Remsima SC in Brazil, Latin America’s largest pharmaceutical market.
The company received Remsima approval from the European Pharmaceutical Agency in 2013 and from the US Food and Drug Administration in 2016.
RAPID GROWTH IN EUROPE
Thanks to positive feedback from local medical professionals, Remsima SC is experiencing rapid growth in Europe.
Remsima SC’s European market share climbed to 16% in the fourth quarter of last year, compared to a mere 1% in the second quarter of 2020 when it launched there.
Combined with type IV, Remsimas’ total European market share reached 60.6% in the fourth quarter.
The biosimilar has been the most prescribed infliximab in Europe since overtaking the original, Remicade, in 2017.
Biosimilars are products that have been shown to be similar in efficacy and safety to the original reference product, with the benefits of cost savings and promoting sustainable access to therapies.
Write to Yoo-Rim Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org
In-Soo Nam edited this article.
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