A late-stage clinical trial has shown Amgen and Allergan’s biosimilar of Avastin (bevacizumab) to work just as well at staving off disease progression and improving survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Avastin is a recombinant immunoglobulin G1 monoclonal antibody that binds to vascular endothelial growth factor preventing the growth of new blood vessels necessary for the maintenance and development of solid tumours.

The Phase III trial of biosimilar ABP 215 hit primary and secondary endpoints, showing clinical equivalence in the objective response rate and comparable safety to Roche’s blockbuster, which pulls in more than $6 billion across all of its indications.

“Non-small cell lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women in the US and the EU. ABP 215 holds the potential to advance access to treatment options for oncology patients,” said Amgen’s Sean Harper.

Industry observers are keeping a very close eye on the advent of biosimilars which, given that they are generally priced 20%-30% cheaper than their branded counterparts, could help reign in spiralling drug costs and widen access to biologic drugs.

A study published last year by the RAND Corporation research institute predicts that biosimilars could cut US spending on biologics by as much as $44 billion over the next decade.

Novartis’ Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz) became the first biosimilar - of Amgen’s white blood cell stimulator Neupogen - to win US approval back in March.