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April 25, 2018

Celltrion to accelerate Humira, Avastin biosimilar development

PUBLISHED : January 12, 2018 - 14:12

UPDATED : January 12, 2018 - 14:12

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[THE INVESTOR] Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin said on Jan. 11 that the firm will step up efforts to market biosimilar versions of Humira and Avastin at more competitive prices to beat the original products.

“Celltrion has the strongest pipeline in the biosimilar segment compared to global rivals like Amgen and Genentech, and we are committed to outperform them with superior price competitiveness,” he said at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.


Celltrion Chairman Seo Jung-jin


Seo said Celltrion will actively speed up clinical trials of its versions of AbbVie’s rheumatoid arthritis treatment Humira and Roche’s oncology therapy Avastin.

It will soon initiate clinical programs of Humira biosimilar while its knockoff of Avastin is under phase 1 studies.

Celltrion put itself on the map with Remsima, also known as Inflectra, by introducing the world’s first biosimilar of Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade in Europe and the US before rivals. Its follow-up drug Truxima is also the first ever Rituxan biosimilar to be approved by the European Commission.

Since then, however, Celltrion hasn’t been able to roll out market-pioneering copy versions of other blockbuster therapies, such as Humira and Avastin.

In the meantime, Samsung Bioepis’ Humira copycat has been cleared for its EU launch, while Boehringer Ingelheim and Amgen were granted marketing authorization for their Humira knockoffs in the US. Amgen and Allergan got FDA approval for Avastin’s biosimilar last year.

Seo said he still believes that Celltrion’s Humira version will have the upper hand over other approved biosmilars as the company referenced AbbVie’s new formulation of the drug that has a higher concentration, which enables a smaller injection volume. For the Avastin biosimilar, the company seeks to rely on its price competitiveness over the original drug.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)  

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