EU adopts new biosimilar guideline

European regulators have adopted a guideline on biosimilar antibody drugs; industry can expect its publication in a couple of weeks. However, many experts already anticipate a cautious approach, requiring separate clinical trials for different diseases addressed by the same antibody, as Reuters notes.

In a release, the EMA briefly touched on the guidelines, titled 'Similar Biological Medicinal Products Containing Monoclonal Antibodies,' which will be released for a five-month public consultation period. "This guideline lays down the nonclinical and clinical requirements for monoclonal antibody-containing medicines claiming to be similar to another one already marketed," it explains.

Earlier this week, Lincoln Tsang, a partner at London law firm Arnold & Porter, told Reuters he expects the EMA to play it safe by requiring extensive testing. "My hunch is that they will be cautious in saying that if you can establish clinical efficacy and safety of a given product for a given indication you can't readily seek approval for another indication," he said. "Given it is such a big therapeutic area, I think they will not like to be seen to be too generous."

As Reuters notes, such testing could drive up the costs of producing biosimilars, thus making it hard for smaller companies to enter the arena. If costs are too high, only well-established players like Teva, Novartis and Hospira might have the ability to bring such products to market.

- read the EMA release
- get more from Reuters
- see this story, also from Reuters

ALSO: The South Korean government Thursday pledged to promote the biosimilar industry, aiming to take 22 percent of the global market by 2020. Story