Celltrion launches biosimilar of AbbVie’s lead drug, Humira, in the US

(Reuters) – South Korea’s Celltrion Healthcare has launched a copycat version of AbbVie Inc’s Humira at a roughly 5% discount, adding to growing competition for the blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug in the United States

The biosimilar, Yuflyma, became available for sale in the United States on Sunday, the company announced a day later.

Yuflyma is listed at $6,576.50 per month compared to Humira’s current list price of $6,922 per carton and is available in two device types – auto-injector and pre-filled syringe options.

Celltrion said it is seeking interchangeability designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Yuflyma. The decision is likely in the fourth quarter of 2024.

An interchangeable biosimilar product can be substituted without the intervention of the healthcare professional who prescribed the reference product.

Celltrion joins drugmakers such as Boehringer Ingelheim, Sandoz, Organon, Germany’s Fresenius and Coherus BioSciences, which also launched biosimilars this week.

While pills have extremely cheap generic versions, complex and expensive biologics made from living cells cannot be exactly duplicated. Their closest alternatives are called biosimilars.

AbbVie forecasts a 37% decline in Humira sales in 2023 due to competition. Until recently, it was the world’s top-selling non-COVID prescription drug, hitting a record $21.2 billion in sales for 2022.

(Reporting by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Arun Koyyur)

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