LONDON Dec 18 Sandoz, the generics division of
Novartis, said on Wednesday it had initiated a
late-stage clinical trial with its so-called biosimilar version
of AbbVie's best-selling drug Humira.
It is Sandoz's sixth copy of a biotech medicine to enter
Phase III trials and could represent a major prize, since the
Humira drug for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Crohn's
disease is the world's top-selling prescription product with
sales of around $10 billion a year.
The trial will study patients with moderate to severe
plaque-type psoriasis and is designed to support registration in
the United States and Europe.
Creating copies of such antibody drugs is complicated because
they are produced in living cells, bringing inevitable
unpredictability. As a result, copies can only ever be
"similar", not exact replicas.