Boehringer Ingelheim is getting ready to launch a biosimilar for Roche’s cancer blockbuster Avastin as soon as the patent expires. Can it overcome the fierce competition in a market expected to grow to 50% of the drug market by 2020?
Boehringer Ingelheim just announced results from a Phase I trial showing that its biosimilar candidate BI695502 is equivalent to Roche’s Avastin (bevacizumab), number 4 in the list of top-selling biologicals. BI’s candidate performance in comparison to Avastin is currently being evaluated in a Phase III trial to treat non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Results are expected in 2019 when Avastin patents expire in the US, whereas Europe will have to wait until 2022.
Avastin, which made €6.9Bn in sales last year, is an antibody drug that inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) to block angiogenesis, a hallmark of cancer. The success of the drug relies on its multiple oncology indications: NSCLC, metastatic colorectal, metastatic kidney, ovarian, cervix and brain cancer.