Intas launches biosimilar Bevacizumab with aggressive pricing

Ahmedabad based Intas pharmahas launched the biosimilar drug Bevacizumab in India used for treating several types of cancer including colorectal, lung and cervical cancer besides certain form of brain tumours. Bevacizumab is the spin off cancer drug of Swiss drug maker Roche pharma which sells it under the brand name of Avastin. Intas said that it will launch the drug at Rs 39,995 for 400mg, which is 60% lower than the currently available treatment option.

Biosimilar drugs are the follow on versions of biologic drugs which are composed of sugars, proteins, nucleic acids or complex combinations of these substances, or may be living entities such as cells and tissues. Biologic drugs are different from chemical drugs as they are complex mixtures that are not easily identified or characterised. Intas would be sharing the Bevacizumab market with the likes of Zydus CadilaHetero and Reliance Lifesciences. The story of Bevacizumab has had its own share of legal disputes with Swiss drug maker Roche objecting to the approval of the biosimilar version of these drugs on the grounds that the Indian drug controller did not follow due process while granting the approval. For Roche Avastin is one of its blockbuster drug raking in sales worth $7 billion annually, the drug maker has been making several attempts to stall biosimilar drug launches of its cancer drugs in a bid to ward off competition.

Intas spokesperson said that the company has followed all due process in getting the approval for the drug. It said that the company through its pricing strategy will expand the market which currently serves only 5% of the patients.



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