Mundipharma said its network of companies has kicked off the rollout of Celltrion’s Herceptin biosimilar Herzuma in Europe.

The product’s first launch sites are the UK - where Napp Pharmaceuticals holds distribution rights - and also in Germany, with further launches expected in the coming months.

The Mundipharma network holds exclusive distribution rights to Herzuma in the UK, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Herzuma was cleared in Europe in March 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.

“The availability of biosimilar trastuzumab will provide an alternative treatment option to the thousands of eligible patients across Europe,” said Richard Trollope, head of Oncology and Biosimilars at Mundipharma International.

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 previously said.