February 13, 2009 / 6:30 AM / in 10 years

UPDATE 1-Novartis unit gets EU approval for generic biosimilar

(Adds details)

ZURICH, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Sandoz, the generic unit of Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG NOVN.VX, said it has received European Commission approval for biosimilar filgrastim. Filgrastim is indicated for the treatment of neutropenia, a condition characterized by a lack of neutrophils, one of the most common types of white blood cells, whose role is to fight infection in the body.

The Sandoz product is approved for the same range of indications as the reference product, Amgen’s (AMGN.O) Neupogen.

Filgrastim is a natural protein produced commercially which stimulates production of white blood cells.

Biosimilars are versions of biopharmaceuticals whose patents have expired. (Reporting by Jason Rhodes; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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