AbbVie inks Humira patent deal No. 7, delaying Pfizer's U.S. biosim launch until late 2023

AbbVie is on a hot streak striking patent deals to protect its top drug, Humira. Even as Boehringer Ingelheim has opted to fight the company’s patent claims in court, Pfizer has decided it’s in its own best interest to settle on a late 2023 biosimilar launch date.

Under a licensing agreement with AbbVie, Pfizer can launch its Humira biosim on Nov. 20, 2023. The date falls after biosim launch timelines for several other drugmakers that have already inked their own patent deals with AbbVie.  

Amgen, for instance, was the first to settle with AbbVie and gets the earliest U.S. Humira biosimilar launch date of Jan. 31, 2023. Samsung Bioepis followed with its own deal this year that allows its marketing partner Merck to launch a biosim in the U.S. on June 30, 2023. 

Since both of those deals, AbbVie has rung up a series of settlements with MylanSandoz, Fresenius Kabi, Momenta and now Pfizer on staggered launch dates through the second half of 2023.  

In Europe, Pfizer can launch its biosim after it secures regulatory approval. The program is in phase 3, according to Pfizer’s pipeline (PDF). 

Meanwhile, several companies have already launched their biosims in Europe under their own settlements with AbbVie, and the competition is starting to hurt AbbVie’s pricing power in the markets. On AbbVie’s third-quarter conference call, AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez said discounting has been at the high end of AbbVie’s projections, ranging from 10% to 80%. 

RELATED: AbbVie offers up 80% Humira discount in EU tender market to hold off biosimilars: report 

Boehringer Ingelheim has opted against settling. The company is still eying the lucrative U.S. market and this week said it’s pulling out of biosim development activities elsewhere. A spokesperson said BI is committed to making its Humira biosim, Cyltezo, “available to U.S. patients as soon as possible and certainly before 2023.” 

Humira generated $12.36 billion in the U.S. last year, compared with about $6 billion in all other markets.