Big Biotech joins Big Pharma in hunt for biosimilars

Several big biotech and pharma companies have been buzzing about their plans to launch biosimilar programs now that the FDA is laying out a regulatory pathway for the therapies. Reuters pinned down several CEOs at the JP Morgan event, and Amgen's Kevin Sharer as well as Biogen Idec's George Scangos talked up plans to fire up some follow-up programs of their own.

"The next decade will be about access and cost as much as it is about innovation," said Scangos, who added that biosimilars are a "perfect" fit for the company. Sharer, meanwhile, said that Amgen is particularly interested in developing biosimilars for the Asian and Latin American markets, two emerging markets that have become increasingly important in the future of biopharma.

Amgen, of course, is one of the biggest companies to face the first onslaught of biosimilar competition. Scangos picked Amgen's Enbrel, a $3.5 billion biologic, as the first mega-blockbuster on the follow-on hit lit. In addition to the reports from JP Morgan, Merck has been avidly building up its own biosimilar operations. The pharma giant struck a deal this week with the CRO Parexel to develop biosimilars.

- here's the story from Reuters