Zydus Cadila Healthcare Ltd. has on Tuesday launched a biosimilar version of it’s popular drug Adalimumab, the fully human anti-TNF alpha monoclonal antibody. The drug is branded and sold as Humira in the US for treating rheumatoid arthritis and other auto immune disorders. Zydus Cadila has decided to sell the drug under the brand name, Exemptia as a economical option for people in India who are seeking treatments for auto immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis.
A biosimilar of a drug is a cheap copy of the biotech drugs made from proteins and other large molecules, but have similar level of efficacy and safety of the originator drug. Biosimilars of drugs are several times more affordable and accessible to original drugs. The biosimilar, developed by the scientists at the Zydus Research Centre, has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India for treatment of auto immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and Ankylosing Spondylitis.
Adalimumab, approved globally in 2002, has been the largest selling drug since it’s launch. While a vial of the original version Humira, costs around 55,000 indian rupees, the biosimilar will cost around 10,000 or more. The launch of the biosimilar is a good news as there are more than 12 million patients in India suffering from auto immune disorders. However, that is another matter that around 70% of Indian population lives on less than 100 rupees a day and would still not be able to afford the biosimilar.
During the launch Dr Sharvil Patel, deputy managing director of Zydus Cadila, said, “At Zydus, we believe that innovations must bridge unmet healthcare needs and provide solutions to patients who are suffering from disease and disability especially in such chronic conditions. This therapy will offer a new lease of life to millions in India who did not have access to this therapy so far. We are happy to offer them hope, freedom from pain and better quality of life through Exemptia.” "We are working towards being among the first wave of the launch of this drug's biosimilars globally," Patel added. The company is hoping to launch the medicine in the US in 2019. Several other companies in India are working on developing biosimilars for otherwise costly original drugs.
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