Zydus Cadila launches first cheaper copy of world's top-selling drug

  • PTI, New Delhi
  • Updated: Dec 09, 2014 17:44 IST

Drug firm Zydus Cadila on Tuesday launched biosimilar of Adalimumab, used for treatment of auto immune disorders, at a price much lower than the innovator drug in India.

Developed by Zydus Research Centre, the biosimilar has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India and will be marketed under the brand name 'Exemptia' at a cost that will be one-fifth of the innovator product Humira by AbbVie.

The company has got approval for the product for four areas at present -- rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

"The cost of the innovator product by AbbVie is $1,000 per vial. Our Exemptia will be available at one-fifth of its cost in India. It is the first biosimilar of Adalimumab," Zydus Cadila deputy managing director Sharvil P Patel told PTI.

The company is also looking for approvals for three large indications - Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and plaque psoriasis, he added.

When asked about the global sales of Adalimumab, Patel said: "The sales were around $12 billion worldwide."

Though the innovator drug is under patent protection but the therapy was not available to patients in India.

"This therapy will offer a new lease of life to millions in India who did not have access to it so far. We are happy to offer them hope, freedom from pain and better quality of life through Exemptia," Patel said.

Nearly 12 million people suffer from auto immune disorders in India, out of which 10 million suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, he added.

On being asked about revenues that the company is targeting from sales of Exemptia, Patel said: "We are looking at sales of Rs 100-150 crore in three to five years."

The company is also looking at marketing its product globally, he added.

Biosimilars are biological products that are similar or highly similar to the originator products and have similar level of efficacy and safety.

Zydus Cadila currently employs over 16,000 people across the world and is targeting to achieve sales of over Rs 10,000 crore by 2015.

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