Celltrion Healthcare, the distribution and marketing unit of Korea’s biosimilar giant Celltrion, said it marked the first prescription of autoimmune biosimilar Remsima SC in Germany, as part of efforts to expand sales in Europe.
Remsima SC is the first product that the company is selling through a direct sales system. The sales of Remsima SC will be a barometer to evaluate the sales system of Celltrion Healthcare, observers said.
Remsima SC, the subcutaneous version of Remsima, is a biosimilar referencing Johnson & Johnson’s autoimmune disease treatment Remicade. By changing the injection form from the intravenous (IV) to the subcutaneous version, Remsima SC became more convenient for patients. Celltrion obtained approval for Remsima SC in November in Europe.
Celltrion earlier said it would directly sell Remsima SC in Europe without a foreign partner. The company said it would use a “prime-similar strategy,” setting the price of the biosimilar higher than the first-line treatment and lower than the second-line treatment, to expand sales of Remsima SC in major European markets, including Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands.
Germany’s tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) market is estimated to be around 2.3 trillion won ($1.9 billion), the largest in Europe, according to IQVIA data. Celltrion Healthcare released Remsima SC in Germany first, given the country’s significance in the European healthcare market.
On Jan. 28, Celltrion Healthcare held a news conference in Frankfurt to mark the launching of Remsima SC and announced that the company would start selling the drug from February.
At the conference, Professor Rieke Alten, head of the Department of Internal Medicine, Rheumatology, Clinical Immunology and Osteology at Schlosspark-Klinik in Berlin, said a clinical study showed that Remsima SC showed the safety and efficacy that are similar to those of Remsima IV.
The German medical community’s anticipation for Remsima SC was growing because physicians could prescribe infliximab as a single drug in a changed drug form, he added.
“German doctors requested information about clinical data of Remsima SC and the drug even before the market release,” an official at Celltrion Healthcare said. “In just a week after the launch, we saw the first prescription of Remsima SC.”
Celltrion Healthcare Vice Chairman Kim Hyeong-gi said, “The company plans to recruit more than 300 employees with professional marketing capabilities for Remsima direct sales from around the world by the end of the year.”
<© Korea Biomedical Review, All rights reserved.>