Biobetters, rather than biosimilars, are the better opportunity for biopharm and CRO's looking to capitalize on biologics patent expirations say experts Stephen Porter, CSO at Drogon Bio-Consulting, John Hubbard, Sr. VP worldwide development at Pfizer. The biobetters improve on the original molecule in some tanglible fashion (longer half life, higher efficacy, better safety profile) and offer a better chance for differentiation and improved patient benefits. The downside - they require more extensive clinical trials.
Since clinical trials are needed, then biobetters also offer an enhanced opportunity for CROs says Mark Goldberg, COO at Parexel - a company that has made a strategic decision to enter the sector and inked a new deal with Merck.
I've had this conversation with several companies pursuing follow on biologics. I don't think the answer of whether to pursue a biosimilar versus a biobetter is the same in all cases. Some companies will pursue the former to get to market quicker and grab share -- some will try to leap frog the competition with the biobetter. I think both actions will occur and will differ on a company by company and moleclule by molecule basis. I expect both to be part of the final portfolio of follow on biologics. After a while, then it migh be clear which offers a better economic return (if it is clear cut) and then that model woudl be expected to prevail.
Posted by Bruce Lehr April 12th 2011.