India's Reliance Life Sciences brings first bevacizumab biosim to market

India street scene

Mumbai-based Reliance Life Sciences has launched a biosimilar of Roche's ($RHHBY) blockbuster cancer therapy bevacizumab (Avastin) in India--marking a first for the treatment that has been part of a legal tussle and off-label use concerns in the country.

The Drug Controller General of India had earlier approved a biosimilar of bevacizumab to treat colorectal cancer by the company. It will be marketed by Lupin under the name Bevacirel at a price level just shy of the original drug from Swiss-based Roche, according to the Economic Times.

The patented drug has multiple global cancer licenses, including for lung, kidney and ovarian tumors, and made over $6.6 billion last year--making it Roche's second-biggest seller in 2015. 

Free Daily Newsletter

Like this story? Subscribe to FiercePharma!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FiercePharma as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on drugs and the companies that make them. Sign up today to get pharma news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

These sales are why the company has been fighting hard against copycats. In May, Roche filed a lawsuit to block approval of a biosimilar of the same drug by Hyderabad-based Hetero Drugs because of the use of language in the packaging label that draws on Roche's own work. 

In the case of bevacizumab, the Reliance version was not included in the lawsuit, but biosimilar approval standards in India are a sharp source of intellectual property contentions with multinational drug makers.

Reliance or Roche were not immediately available for comment.

According to the Economic Times, the price gap for the originator version is INR1,200 ($17.97) with the Roche price at INR29,500 for 100mg injection, compared to INR28,300 for the Reliance version.

Earlier this year, off-label use of Avastin in India to treat age-related macular degeneration was linked to partial loss of sight for 15 patients. Roche halted sales during the incident and warned against such use. Sales have since resumed.

- here's the story from the Economic Times

Related Articles:
Roche presses on biosimilar labels in India with Avastin challenge
Quality issues not behind sight loss in off-label Avastin use in India
Roche details hit to Avastin price in Japan


Suggested Articles

The second of AbbVie’s highly anticipated 2019 blockbuster candidates is here: Its crucial Humira follow-up, Rinvoq.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s takeover of Celgene hasn’t always gone smoothly, but now a once-left-for-dead centerpiece of that deal is ready to launch.

Investors sued Novo Nordisk in Denmark, claiming it misled the public about trouble plaguing its insulin franchise—and demanding $1.75B in damages.