Napp Pharmaceuticals has secured itself exclusive UK distribution rights to Celltrion Healthcare’s Herceptin biosimilar Herzuma.
Herzuma (trastuzumab) was approved earlier this year in Europe for use across all indications of its reference product, that is for the treatment of people with early breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, or metastatic gastric cancer whose tumours have either HER2 overexpression or HER2 gene amplification.
Herceptin, a biologic drug developed by Genentech and marketed by Roche, pulled in worldwide sales of $6.8 billion in 2016, of which $2.1 billion stemmed from Europe.
Six out of the top ten medicines prescribed by NHS England hospitals are biological products. Typically, biosimilars are “much cheaper” than their originator products, enabling the NHS to potentially realise cost savings of at least £200-300 million per year by 2020/21, “if the NHS embraces the use of best value biological medicines in a proactive, systematic and safe way,” Napp said.
It also noted that the NHS has already benefitted from significant savings on biological medicines since 2015, with savings of £160 million annually since the introduction of infliximab and etanercept biosimilars.
“Biosimilars are an excellent opportunity to have high quality, lower cost drug options that improve the sustainability of cancer treatment in the UK,” noted Prof Andrew Wardley, consultant medical oncologist at The Christie Hospital. “The launch of biosimilar trastuzumab means this important life-saving treatment will now be more affordable for the NHS”.
This will be the third biosimilar in Napp’s portfolio and also the third product it has partnered with Celltrion on.