The FINANCIAL — Sandoz announced on February 12 that it has acquired from Pfizer the rights for the development and commercialization of PF-06438179 (biosimilar infliximab) in the 28 countries that form the European Economic Area (EEA). Infliximab is a tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitor used to treat a range of autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriasis.
“Infliximab is one of the most important biologic therapy options for people living with severe autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis” said Richard Francis, Global Head of Sandoz. “We intend to complete the development and registration of PF-06438179 and make it available to patients across Europe as part of our robust portfolio of immunology treatments” Francis continued.
Under the terms of the deal, Sandoz plans to complete the clinical study program and submit the biosimilar infliximab to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for regulatory approval and registration with the European Commission. Included in the program is a global phase III trial – REFLECTIONS (B537-02) investigating the safety and efficacy of PF-06438179 and infliximab in combination with methotrexate in subjects with active rheumatoid arthritis who have had an inadequate response to methotrexate. Sandoz acquired the rights to infliximab, following Pfizer’s commitments to the European Commission in connection with the acquisition of Hospira, Inc. to divest the program, according to Novartis.
Sandoz is committed to increasing patient access to high-quality biosimilars. It is the pioneer and global market leader in biosimilars and was the first to launch biosimilars in the United States, Europe and Japan. Sandoz has a leading biosimilar pipeline with programs in various stages of development and regulatory filing including biosimilars adalimumab and etanercept that, like infliximab, are anti-tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) medicines. The company plans to make 10 regulatory filings over a three year period (2015-2017) having already announced five, which include biosimilar etanercept filed with both the EMA and the US Food and Drug Administration. As part of the Novartis Group, Sandoz is well-positioned to lead the biosimilars industry based on its deep experience and capabilities in development, manufacturing and commercialization.