Bangalore-based biotechnology major Biocon Ltd has launched Biomab-Egfr, a therapeutic monoclonal antibody-based drug for treating solid tumors of epithelial origin, such as head and neck cancers.
This drug is engineered to specifically target and block the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) responsible for the proliferation of cancer cells, Biocon informed the Bombay Stock Exchange on Monday.
Biomab-Egfr would be available as a unit carton of four 10 ml vials and was launched across the country, it added.
"This launch spearheads Biocon's foray into proprietary immunotherapeutics and today we join the exclusive league of monoclonal antibody developers worldwide. Biomab-Egfr is competitively priced, making cancer treatment more affordable. We aspire to become a key player in this segment," Biocon Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said.
The drug is the first of its kind to be clinically developed in India and is the first anti-EGFR humanised monoclonal antibody for cancer and would be made available commercially anywhere in the world.
The product has shown consistent response in clinical trials initiated both in India and globally and would be produced at its manufacturing facility — Biocon Park.
Biomab-Egfr targets the human EGFR, a type of protein found on the surface of both normal and cancer cells, and in many cancer cells EGFR is overproduced, leading to their uncontrolled and abnormal growth.
Biomab-Egfr is indicated for use in combination with radiation therapy or chemotherapy in patients with positive expression of EGFR in squamous cell carcinoma, a common form of skin cancer and frequently arises on the sun-exposed skin of middle-aged and elderly individuals.
Immunotherapeutics is a new class of drugs that effectively address unmet needs, particularly in oncology and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus.
Around 100 per 100,000 population, and the highest rates of head and neck cancers are reported in South Asian countries such as India and Sri Lanka. In fact, the Indian sub-continent accounts for one-third of the world burden of head and neck cancers.
The present global market size of monoclonal antibodies is estimated at $15 billion, and is expected to double by 2010.
The shares of the company were trading at Rs 367.75, down 0.94 per cent, on the BSE.