Saturday, June 27, 2009
Sandoz receives approval for Japanese biosimilar
Sandoz has received marketing authorization for the first-ever Japanese biosimilar, recombinant human growth hormone somatropin. The precedent-setting decision further reinforces Sandoz's global leadership position in the rapidly-emerging market for biosimilars, or follow-on versions of existing state-of-the-art biopharmaceuticals.Sandoz CEO Jeff George said, "We are pleased that Sandoz, the pioneer in biosimilars and a company with a global reputation for offering high quality medicines at affordable prices, is paving the way in Japan as well. Together with our parent company Novartis, we are fully committed to broadening access to innovative and affordable biopharmaceuticals over the years and decades to come, both in Japan and worldwide."The Ministry of Health, Labour and Wealth (MHLW) announced the approval on June 22, barely three months after the Japanese authorities published guidelines that paved the way for a national biosimilar regulatory pathway, based on similar scientific principles to the approval pathway already in place in the European Union.The Sandoz product will be marketed in Japan as Somatropin BS S.C. injection 5mg / 10mg [Sandoz]. It is approved for the treatment of growth hormone deficiency in children and growth disturbance associated with Turner's syndrome or chronic renal insufficiency. This is the same range of indications covered by the reference product, Genotropin, as approved in Japan. It is approved on the basis that it offers patients comparable quality, safety and efficacy to the reference product.Sandoz pioneered the field of biosimilars / follow-on biologics with the approval and subsequent launch of Omnitrope in the US and Europe. Omnitrope was the first such product to be made available to patients in both regions and the first ever medicine to be approved in the EU as a biosimilar, the European regulatory term for such products. Sandoz is the only company with three biosimilar medicines marketed in Europe.Biosimilars are an integral part of the Sandoz strategy to focus on difficult-to-make products that provide added patient benefits. Due to the rising costs of health care and the growing need for more complex treatments, they will play an increasingly important role in ensuring and broadening global access to medicines. Sandoz is building a strong global biosimilar pipeline, with numerous projects at all stages of development.