PHARMACY

Decision Resources: Biosimilars may cause biotech companies to lose more than $9 billion

BY Alaric DeArment

WALTHAM, Mass. Biotech companies that manufacture a class of drugs used to treat autoimmune disorders stand to lose more than $9 billion in Europe and the United States by 2018 thanks to competition from biosimilars, according to a report.

According to the report, Biosimilars: TNF-Alpha Inhibitors and Interferon-Alphas in Immune and Infectious Diseases, by healthcare research and advisory firm Decision Resources, biosimilars of tumor necrosis factor-alpha inhibitors will cause sales of the originals to erode by $9.6 billion while saving healthcare systems $4 billion.

TNF-alpha inhibitors include Enbrel (etanercept), by Amgen and Eli Lilly & Co., Abbott’s Humira (adalimumab) and Remicade (infliximab), by Johnson & Johnson’s Centocor Ortho Biotech division and Schering-Plough Corp., now part of Merck & Co.  The drugs work by suppressing TNF-alpha, a protein that usually fights cancer, but can also attack the body itself and cause inflammatory autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

“Sales associated with TNF-alpha inhibitors make these agents an attractive target for biosimilar manufacturers, while the cost of TNF-alpha inhibitor therapy makes this drug class a priority for payers looking to reduce spend,” Decision Resources analyst MaryEllen Klusacek said in a statement. “We expect rheumatoid arthritis, the largest indication fuelling growth of the TNF-alpha inhibitor market, will be the first indication targeted by biosimilar developers.”

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Teva files suit against Sandoz, Momenta over patent infringement

BY Alaric DeArment

JERUSALEM Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has motioned to amend a complaint against two generic drug makers over their alleged infringement of Teva’s patent on a multiple sclerosis drug.

The Israeli drug maker announced Tuesday that it had sought to amend a complaint filed against Sandoz and Momenta Pharmaceuticals in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York over their attempts to make a generic version of the injected drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). The amended complaint has been filed with the court under seal.

Teva, which makes branded drugs in addition to being the world’s largest manufacturer of generic drugs, originally filed the suit in August 2008, alleging infringement of multiple patents covering the drug.

Teva said that Copaxone is a “highly complicated” drug to develop, and given its inability to fully characterize its active ingredients, it has “serious doubts” about another drug company’s ability to make a comparable generic version.

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Boston Scientific sponsors World Diabetes Day 2009

BY Allison Cerra

NATICK, Mass. A worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices announced its official sponsorship of World Diabetes Day for the second consecutive year. The program is organized by the International Diabetes Federation, and represents its primary global awareness campaign in the fight against diabetes.

The IDF is a worldwide alliance of more than 200 diabetes associations in 160 countries that share a mission of enhancing the lives of people with diabetes. It promotes appropriate diabetes care, prevention and the pursuit of a cure through such activities as World Diabetes Day, which will be observed Nov. 14.

“As a global leader in the medical device industry and a company committed to improving lives, we have a responsibility to support critical health initiatives like World Diabetes Day,” said David McFaul, Boston Scientific SVP international. “Many of our employees see first hand the devastating impact diabetes can have on patients and their families. We’re proud to continue our support of this important campaign with numerous activities planned at Boston Scientific sites around the globe intended to promote diabetes awareness and education.”

As part of its support, Boston Scientific once again will participate in the IDF World Diabetes Day Monument Challenge by temporarily illuminating its corporate headquarters in Natick, Mass., and changing the color of its Internet homepage to blue in recognition of World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14. Additionally, Boston Scientific further will support World Diabetes Day with activities at company facilities around the world, including free diabetes screenings for employees and “lunch and learn” sessions.

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