Mundipharma to Launch Biosimilar Truxima in Europe
UK pharmaceutical group Mundipharma is gearing up to launch Truxima (rituximab), a biosimilar from South Korea’s Celltrion, for the treatment of certain cancers and inflammatory conditions, after authorization was granted by the European Medicines Agency. Mundipharma has exclusive rights to market and distribute Truxima in the UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands following an agreement with Celltrion last December.
Truxima is the first biosimilar monoclonal antibody to get approval in Europe for treating cancer, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. It is a biosimilar of Swiss drugmaker Roche's blockbuster drug Mabthera, which was reported to be the world’s top selling oncology drug in 2015, costing healthcare systems more than $7.1 billion annually. The drug can also be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and microscopic polyangiitis.
Mundipharma said that as Truxima is intended to cost less than Mabthera, it is hoped the resulting cost savings could free up healthcare budgets to allow patients access to other cancer medicines. In a March 2016 report, QuintilesIMS Institute estimated that, in total, biosimilars could potentially save European healthcare systems about €15 billion over the next five years.
“For healthcare systems burdened with high-cost oncology treatments, we are pleased to provide an option that has the potential to offer significant savings whilst ensuring patients retain access to high-quality and effective treatments,” said Celltrion’s chairman, Jung-Jin Seo. Celltrion partnered with Israel’s Teva last year to commercialize Truxima in the US and Canada.
Truxima is the second biosimilar monoclonal antibody to be marketed and distributed by Mundipharma’s network in Europe, following the launch of infliximab in 2015. Antony Mattessich, managing director of Mundipharma International, said the group is constantly seeking opportunities to develop and commercialize sustainable, responsible medicines and is looking forward to further expanding its portfolio in this rapidly growing area.