Reliance Life Sciences Acquires the Global Rights for Infliximab Biosimilars
Reliance Life sciences acquired the global rights for the manufacturing and marketing of infliximab biosimilars from the Boston based Epirus Biopharmaceuticals.
Infliximab is used for the treatment of wide range of medical ailments like ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease, plaque psoriasis and ankylosing spondylitis.
Figure 1. Remicade packaging (photo credit: oncologynewjersey.com).
Infliximab, was originally developed by Janssen Biotech (formerly Centocor) and popularly marketed as Remicade. Infliximab is a genetically engineered chimeric monoclonal antibody which act as a TNF inhibitor and blocks the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). It is used for the treatment of autoimmune inflammatory diseases. Infliximab is administered as intravenous infusion.
Figure 2. Mechanism of action of infliximab (photo credit: medscape.org).
Infliximab blocks the inflammatory effect by binding to TNF-α thereby, reducing pain and inflammation in patients suffering from various autoimmune diseases. TNF-α is a cytokine chemical messenger which play a very important role in autoimmune reaction. Autoimmune diseases are difficult to cure but infliximab can help in reducing the symptoms of pain and inflammation. The drug starts its effect in some patients within 48 hours while others may have to wait several weeks before any improvement is observed.
Gross sales of Remicade for the year 2015 was estimated around $9 billion. With this acquisition Reliance Life Sciences will be manufacturing and marketing total of 6 biosimilars with reference to monoclonal antibodies. Apart from Infliximab, the company is also working on other antibody biosimilars which include abciximab for patients suffering from coronary diseases or undergoing coronary procedures like angioplasty, rituximab for treatment of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, transplant rejection, and autoimmune disorders , trastuzumab (Herceptin) used for the treatment breast cancer, bevacizumab (Avastin) used for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, adalimumab (Humira and Exemptia) is also a TNF inhibitor for treatment of autoimmune diseases.
Until now the major Indian pharmaceuticals contributing to global biosimilars market were Biocon, Dr Reddy’s, Zydus Cadila, Wockhardt and Intas. Now with the acquisition even Reliance Life Sciences is set to make its mark in the Global Biosimilar market. The latest acquisition of infliximab biosimilar places Reliance Life Sciences Industry among the top biosimilar makers.
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