Sandoz resubmits biosimilar pegfilgrastim application to US FDA

Novartis division and a global leader in biosimilars, announced resubmission of its Biologics License Application (BLA) for a proposed biosimilar pegfilgrastim to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address an FDA complete response letter received in June 2016.

Pegfilgrastim is a long-acting version of filgrastim and may be prescribed to appropriate cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy to enhance the production of infection-fighting white blood cells2.

Studies have shown that, each year in the US, 4,000 cancer patients die of febrile neutropenia and 60,000 are hospitalized due to neutropenia1. Biosimilars help create the potential to save the US healthcare system up to USD 54 billion over 10 years3. Access to more treatment options for neutropenia is urgently needed, as cancer-related neutropenia hospitalizations can amount to as much as USD 2.3 billion in costs per year4.

“For the tens of thousands of US cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, treatment options that can be individualized right from the start, such as long- and short-acting filgrastim biosimilars, are key to help manage the risk of serious complications related to infection,” said Mark Levick, MD, PhD, Global Head of Development, Biopharmaceuticals, Sandoz.

He added: “The US market is just beginning to benefit from biosimilars, as shown by the success of our filgrastim, the first approved biosimilar in the US. The submission of our pegfilgrastim biosimilar application is another step for us as we continue to lead the way in creating early and expanded patient access to life-changing biologics.”

Sandoz biosimilar pegfilgrastim is designed to match the reference medicine. Sandoz is pursuing approval of biosimilar pegfilgrastim to decrease the incidence of infection, as manifested by febrile neutropenia (low white blood cell count with a fever), in patients with non-myeloid malignancies receiving myelosuppressive anti-cancer drugs associated with a clinically significant incidence of febrile neutropenia2,5.

The resubmission includes new data from a pivotal pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) study. This was a single-dose, three-period cross-over study comparing Sandoz pegfilgrastim with US-sourced reference pegfilgrastim; Sandoz pegfilgrastim with EU-sourced reference pegfilgrastim; and US with EU-sourced reference pegfilgrastim6.

Sandoz is focused on strengthening its portfolio in oncology care and remains well-positioned as a leader in the biosimilars industry based on its experience and capabilities in development, manufacturing and commercialization. Sandoz has three approved biosimilars in the US and markets eight biosimilars in the European Economic Area (EEA), including biosimilar pegfilgrastim.*

About Sandoz Proposed Biosimilar Pegfilgrastim
Pegfilgrastim is a biosimilar to Neulasta®** and is a long-acting version of filgrastim. Filgrastim is similar to a natural protein (granulocyte-colony stimulating factor) – also known as G-CSF – produced by a person’s body. Pegfilgrastim, like filgrastim may be used to reduce the duration of neutropenia (low white blood cell count) and the occurrence of febrile neutropenia (low white blood cell count with a fever). Both neutropenia and febrile neutropenia are caused by cytotoxic chemotherapy (medicines that destroy rapidly growing cells). White blood cells are important as they help your body fight infection2.

About Sandoz
Sandoz, a Novartis division, is a global leader in generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars and a pioneer in the emerging field of prescription digital therapeutics. Our purpose is to pioneer access to healthcare by developing and commercializing novel, affordable approaches that address unmet medical need. Our broad portfolio of high-quality medicines, covering all major therapeutic areas and increasingly focused on value-adding differentiated medicines, accounted for 2018 sales of USD 9.9 billion. Sandoz is headquartered in Holzkirchen, in Germany’s Greater Munich area.
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cost of Cancer-Related Neutropenia or Fever Hospitalizations. Available at: Accessed January 16, 2019.
  2. European Medicines Agency. Ziextenzo European Public Assessment Report. Available at: Accessed October 8, 2018.
  3. Mulcahy AW, Hlávka JP, Case SR. Biosimilar cost savings in the United States: initial experience and future potential. Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2017.
  4. Tai E, Guy GP, Dunbar A, Richardson LC. Cost of cancer-related neutropenia or fever hospitalizations, United States, 2012. Journal of Oncology Practice 2017;13(6):e552-e561.

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Annick Lambert
Sandoz US Communications
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