SWITZERLAND – Sandoz, a global leader in generic and biosimilar medicines, has announced the launch of a new global initiative called ‘Act4Biosimilars’ to help increase global adoption of biosimilar medicines by at least 30% in 30+ countries by 2030.
The “Act4Biosimilars” campaign is framed as an effort “to help address health inequity and inequality worldwide” by making biosimilars more approvable, accessible, acceptable, and affordable—the four A’s of biosimilars, according to the company.
On the ground, this means expanding access to biosimilars, which are very close copies of off-patent biologic drugs used to treat cancer, autoimmune diseases, and other diseases.
A “steering committee” of patient advocacy leaders, healthcare professionals, biosimilar experts and others is leading the effort.
They come from academia, pharmacy and patient groups and include Professor Tore Kvien, head of the Department of Rheumatology at the University of Oslo, and Professor Michael Wiechmann, M.D., Ph.D., global head of medical affairs at Sandoz.
An accompanying website, Act4Biosimilars.com, outlines 12 goals the group says will help reach the 30-by-30 ambition.
These include ensuring equitable pricing, involving patients in treatment decisions and streamlining biosimilar development.
Last year, Sandoz said it planned to launch six biosimilars across the US and EU in the next few years. It has about 15 biosim programs in development internally or through partnerships.
The Act4 campaign will track progress with its “Action Plan” with so-called Country Indicator Maps, and it’s running parallel messaging efforts on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Biosim adoption bottlenecks
Despite the fact that biosimilars are generally less expensive than reference products, global uptake has been hampered by regulatory, manufacturing, and legal squabbles.
Meanwhile, some are concerned that biosims aren’t as effective or safe as their reference products. With its new campaign, Sandoz hopes to address these concerns head on.
Novartis owns the global generics and biosim group Sandoz, but the company is considering strategic alternatives.
Sandoz in-licensed a copycat of Roche’s anti-VEGF drug Avastin from China’s Bio-Thera Solutions last year, and it’s also working on a late-stage biosimilar to Regeneron’s top-selling vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor Eylea for eye diseases.
However, the launch of a biosim version of Amgen’s Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) inhibitor Enbrel has been significantly delayed due to legal defeats, demonstrating the difficulties in entering the market.
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