According to a report in Reuters today, we have more and more Big Pharma companies jumping on the biosimilars bandwagon. Written from the JP Morgan healthcare conference in San Francisco, Amgen, Merck, and Biogen Idec all declared themselves to be pursuing biosimilars.
Amgen says it will concentrate on emerging markets in Asia and South America. Merck plans to work with Parexel to have 5 biosimilars in phase III trials by 2012. Biogen Idec's CEO said that the company was perfectly positioned to pursue this market and characterized it as a "low risk" way to generate substantial revenue. Pfizer has previously announced its intention to have a biosimilars program. Novartis' Sandoz unit already claims to be the world leader in the supply of biosimilars.
Amgen noted it should pursue biosimilars in a "controlled way" as to not disturb its core business. Biogen Idec called out Amgne's Enbrel as one of the first targets on the list and the next as Avastin as both near patent expiration.
Roche's CEO Severin Schwan, an outspoken critic of Big Pharma pursuing non-innovative drugs like biosimilars, must be rolling his eyes about now. Schwan preaches continued innovation. A Roche spokesman did say the company plans to defend its position against biosimilar competitors but declined to give details.
In the meantime, the rest of the industry appears to be preparing for a headlong charge into the biosimilar fray.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Jan 13th 2011.