Baxalta-Coherus Enbrel biosimilar succeeds in late-stage study

(Reuters) - Baxalta Inc and Coherus Biosciences Inc said their experimental biosimilar of Amgen Inc’s arthritis drug Enbrel met the main goal in a late-stage study.

The drug, CHS-0214, was found to be as effective as Enbrel in rheumatoid arthritis patients, with no clinically meaningful differences in terms of its safety, the companies said on Monday.

Enbrel, which raked in U.S. sales of $1.4 billion in the third quarter of 2015, is Amgen’s best-selling drug, making it a lucrative option for companies developing biosimilars.

Biosimilars are copies of biotech drugs and their potential to take business from companies making the original, expensive product is being monitored closely by investors.

Coherus specializes in developing biosimilars and has a number of copycat drugs under development, including of Amgen’s Neulasta and AbbVie Inc’s Humira.

Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit is also developing a biosimilar of Enbrel, while India’s Cipla Ltd launched its own copy of the drug, called Etacept, in 2013.

Enbrel’s patents for Europe expired in February last year and its U.S. patents are set to expire in 2028.

Reporting by Amrutha Penumudi in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Savio D’Souza