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Samsung Bioepis' breast cancer biosimilar hits U.S.

All News 09:52 April 16, 2020

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Samsung Bioepis Co. said Thursday its breast cancer biosimilar Ontruzant is now available in the United States.

Global health care company MSD has begun distributing the biosimilar that references Switzerland-based Roche Holding's Herceptin, also known as Trastuzumab, in the world's largest pharmaceutical market, Samsung Bioepis said.

It is the second Samsung Bioepis biosimilar to go on sale in the U.S. following Renflexis, a biosimilar of Janssen Biotech, Inc.'s blockbuster immunology medicine Remicade.

This undated photo, provided by South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Samsung Bioepis Co., shows its breast cancer biosimilar, Ontruzant. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The launch follows the approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January 2019 to sell the drug designed to treat early breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer and metastatic gastric cancer.

"The launch of Ontruzant to deliver our first oncology biosimilar in the U.S. marks an important milestone for Samsung Bioepis, and more importantly, for the patients who are in need of this proven treatment," said CEO Christopher Ko in a press release.

The sale of the breast cancer treatment has been postponed due to a patent dispute with U.S. drugmaker Genentech. Earlier this year, the two firms reached a license agreement.

Ontruzant is introduced in the U.S. at a price about 15 percent cheaper than the current price of Herceptin. The global Herceptin market reached 7.2 trillion won (US$5.9 billion) last year, with the United States taking over 45 percent.

Samsung Bioepis is a joint venture between Samsung BioLogics -- a biopharmaceutical unit of South Korea's top conglomerate Samsung Group -- and its U.S. partner Biogen Inc.

khj@yna.co.kr
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