Biocon Biologics Ltd. and Viatris Inc. have launched interchangeable biosimilars SEMGLEE® (insulin glargine-yfgn) injection, a branded product, and Insulin Glargine (insulin glargine-yfgn) injection, an unbranded product, in the U.S. to help control high blood sugar in adult and pediatric patients with type 1 diabetes and adults with type 2 diabetes. Both biosimilar products are available in vial and prefilled pen presentations and are interchangeable for the reference brand, LANTUS® (insulin glargine), allowing for substitution at the pharmacy counter.
The launch of our interchangeable biosimilar insulin glargine in the U.S. in November 2021 is a matter of great pride for the country and for all of us at Biocon Biologics.
We believe this is a game-changing development, as it will allow pharmacy-level substitution of the reference product by our biosimilar Insulin Glargine. It will maximize access to an important therapy, regardless of financial circumstances, insurance or channel. It will allow us to improve accessibility, availability and adoption of biosimilars in the U.S. for the benefit of patients and the overall healthcare system.
In July 2021, Semglee®* became the first interchangeable biosimilar product under the 351(k) regulatory pathway of the U.S. FDA. This interchangeability approval for Semglee®* by the U.S. FDA, another first to Biocon Biologics’ credit, is a testament to the Company’s scientific excellence and robust quality comparability data.
Biosimilars and interchangeable biosimilars: facts every prescriber, payor, and patient should know. Insulins perspective
The ‘interchangeable’ status can prompt faster and wider uptake of insulin biosimilars and keep the insulin expenditure under control, especially for patients who otherwise practice non-adherence or rationing of life-saving insulin. Education, support, and awareness can ensure that interchangeable biosimilars gain wider acceptance.
“We are extremely proud to be the first to obtain approval of an interchangeable Biosimilar product in the U.S. It is a milestone achievement for both Biocon Biologics and our partner Viatris.”
– Biocon Biologics Executive Chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
“The launch of our interchangeable biosimilar insulin glargine in the U.S. is a landmark event. It will allow us to improve accessibility, availability and adoption of biosimilars in the U.S. ”
– Biocon Biologics Deputy CEO Shreehas Tambe
Semglee®*: The U.S. Journey
The New Drug Application (NDA) for Insulin Glargine was filed under the 505 (b)(2) pathway with the U.S. FDA in 2017. In early 2020, the U.S. added insulins to the list of biologics to be approved under the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA) approval pathway. Semglee®* was approved as a drug product under the 505(b)(2) pathway in U.S. and deemed a biologic under Section 351(a) in accordance with the BPCIA in June 2020. Semglee®* was launched in vial and pre-filled pen presentations in the U.S. in August 2020.
In July 2021, our biosimilar Insulin Glargine received a historic U.S. approval as the first interchangeable biosimilar under the 351(k) regulatory pathway. Our partner Viatris launched this first-ever interchangeable biosimilar Glargine in the U.S. in November 2021, thus providing a more affordable option for millions of Americans living with diabetes.
The U.S. FDA has set a high scientific bar for granting interchangeability status, with biosimilar developers required to submit results from switching studies that evaluate patient responses when they switch between reference to biosimilar and back to reference product, in order to ensure that there is no compromise of patient safety. The interchangeable designation will thus improve the confidence of prescribers, patients and payors in our biosimilar Insulin Glargine.
Already, our interchangeable product has been included in the National Formularies of two leading Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) in the U.S., Express Scripts and Prime Therapeutics, which together have a reach of over 60 million members. The product will also be offered through the Walgreens Prescription Savings Club, saving members up to 80 percent off the cash price of comparable long-acting insulins purchased at Walgreens.
We believe our biosimilar Insulin Glargine has the potential to bring significant cost savings for patients, employers and PBMs, making insulin-based therapy accessible for a larger number of people with diabetes in the U.S.
FDA NEWS RELEASE
FDA Approves First Interchangeable Biosimilar Insulin Product for Treatment of Diabetes
Availability of Insulin Products Will Help Increase Access and Potentially Lower the Cost of Insulin for People with Diabetes
For Immediate Release: July 28, 2021
Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first interchangeable biosimilar insulin product, indicated to improve glycemic control in adults and pediatric patients with Type 1 diabetes mellitus and in adults with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Semglee (insulin glargine-yfgn) is both biosimilar to, and interchangeable with (can be substituted for), its reference product Lantus (insulin glargine), a long-acting insulin analog. Semglee (insulin glargine-yfgn) is the first interchangeable biosimilar product approved in the U.S. for the treatment of diabetes. Approval of these insulin products can provide patients with additional safe, high-quality and potentially cost-effective options for treating diabetes.
“This is a momentous day for people who rely daily on insulin for treatment of diabetes, as biosimilar and interchangeable biosimilar products have the potential to greatly reduce health care costs,” said Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D. “Today’s approval of the first interchangeable biosimilar product furthers FDA’s longstanding commitment to support a competitive marketplace for biological products and ultimately empowers patients by helping to increase access to safe, effective and high-quality medications at potentially lower cost.”
An interchangeable biosimilar product may be substituted for the reference product without the intervention of the prescriber. The substitution may occur at the pharmacy, a practice commonly called “pharmacy-level substitution”—much like how generic drugs are substituted for brand name drugs, subject to state pharmacy laws, which vary by state. Biosimilar and interchangeable biosimilar products have the potential to reduce health care costs, similar to how generic drugs have reduced costs. Biosimilars marketed in the U.S. typically have launched with initial list prices 15% to 35% lower than comparative list prices of the reference products.
“Access to affordable insulin is critical and long-acting insulin products, like insulin glargine, play an important role in the treatment of Types 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus,” said Peter Stein, M.D., director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “The FDA’s high standards for approval mean health care professionals and patients can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of an interchangeable biosimilar product, just as they would for the reference product.”
Insulin Glargine: Key Timelines
Why is Interchangeability Important
This interchangeability approval is important for products like insulin and insulin analogs that cater to a chronic disease, diabetes. By allowing pharmacies to switch prescriptions from the innovator brand to biosimilars product, it can improve market penetration of biosimilar alternatives. It can also improve the confidence of prescribers, patients and payors in biosimilars.
Learn More About Biosimilars & Interchangeability
The Basics of Biosimilars
What are biosimilar products, and why are they important to the health care and patient communities? Learn more with Leah Christl, Ph.D., Associate Director for Therapeutic Biologics and lead of the Office of New Drugs (OND) Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars staff at FDA CDER.
The Concept of Interchangeability
U.S. FDA approves the interchangeability of biosimilar products only after rigorous research and evaluation. Learn more with Leah Christl, Ph.D., Associate Director for Therapeutic Biologics and lead of the Office of New Drugs (OND) Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars staff at FDA CDER.
The Promise of Biosimilars
What are the promises that biosimilars offer? More options, better patient access, and cost competition. Learn more with FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., and Leah Christl, Ph.D., Director of the Office of New Drugs (OND) Therapeutic Biologics and Biosimilars Staff.
Data Requirements for Biosimilars
FDA-approved biosimilars require data from multiple studies and analytical tools to demonstrate analytical similarity to reference products. Learn more with Dr. Steve Kozlowski, M.D., Director at FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Biocon and Viatris were among the first few to receive approval for biosimilar Insulin Glargine in Europe. Semglee®* (Insulin Glargine) was the first biosimilar from Biocon and Mylan’s joint portfolio to be approved in Europe. Read More
*Co-developed with Viatris.