Sandoz, the drugmaker responsible for bringing the first biosimilar to patients back in 2015, is now on a mission to increase global adoption of biosimilar medicines by at least 30% in 30+ countries by 2030.
The initiative, called Act4Biosimilars, aims to increase patient access to advanced medicines by facilitating 'the four A's' of biosimilars — approvability, accessibility, acceptability and affordability.
A dedicated website — Act4Biosimilars.com — outlines 12 goals that have been identified by the steering committee, which consists of patient advocacy leaders, health care professionals, biosimilar experts and industry leaders.
Biosimilars are used in the treatment and prevention of many disabling and life-threatening diseases such as cancer, psoriasis, arthritis and diabetes. In 2015, the FDA approved Sandoz' Zarxio, the first biosimilar ever to receive approval in the U.S., as a biosimilar to Amgen's Neupogen to reduce the risk of infection in patients with some tumors who are receiving strong chemotherapy that may cause severe neutropenia with fever.
To date, the FDA has approved 33 biosimilars corresponding to eleven different reference products. While biosimilars offer a safe, more affordable option to pricey biologics, uptake — even the U.S. — has been slow. In the U.S., the sector has struggled with challenges including a lack of clarity surrounding interchangeability, lack of education surrounding safety and efficacy as well as IP battles and litigation
Act4Biosimilars is actively looking for subject matter experts to act as advisors, as well as organizations interesting in partnering.
The news comes amid of wave of positive steps towards global health equity. Last week, Pfizer launched a new initiative that aims to provide all of the drugmaker's patented medicines and vaccines available in the U.S. and the EU on a not-for-profit basis to 1.2 billion people in 45 lower-income countries. Days later, ViiV Healthcare announced it is working with the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool to broaden access to the drugmaker's latest HIV PrEP med.