Miletich J, Eich G, Grampp G, and Mounho B. 2011. Guiding principles for a global “patients first” standard. mAbs 3(3):318-325.
In the European Union, biosimilar products have been approved since 2006 under an abbreviated pathway that leverages their similarity to an existing “reference” biological product. The products approved to date are based on recombinant versions of endogenous proteins with well-understood structures and pharmacology, but complicated safety and immunogenicity profiles. The period during the 2000s that included the first reviews, approvals, sale and use of biosimilars, is referred to herein as “Biosimilars 1.0.” Over the next several years, a new and advanced tranche of biosimilars will be developed for complex reference products, including medicines used in the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. A global market for biosimilars is developing, and this may well foreshadow the beginning of the second era of product development. This Biosimilars 2.0 period will likely be characterized by the development of complex products, global harmonization of standards, and the increasing demand for long-term monitoring of pharmaceuticals. The products developed in this period should exhibit high levels of fidelity to the reference products and should be rigorously evaluated in analytical, non-clinical and clinical comparisons. Additionally, Biosimilars 2.0 manufacturers should strive for transparency in their labels and take proactive strides to be accountable to providers and patients for the quality of their products. An important opportunity now exists for the healthcare community, industry and regulators to work in partnership to outline the appropriate standards for these products to facilitate increased access while meeting patients’ needs.