FDA Approves Amgen's (AMGN) Biosimilar to AbbVie's (ABBV) Humira

September 23, 2016 4:09 PM EDT

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(Updated - September 23, 2016 4:11 PM EDT)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Amjevita (adalimumab-atto) as a biosimilar to Humira (adalimumab) for multiple inflammatory diseases.

Amjevita is approved for the following indications in adult patients:

  • moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis;
  • active psoriatic arthritis;
  • active ankylosing spondylitis (an arthritis that affects the spine);
  • moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease;
  • moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis; and
  • moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Amjevita is also indicated for moderately to severely active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis in patients four years of age and older.

Health care professionals should review the prescribing information in the labeling for detailed information about the approved uses.

“This is the fourth FDA-approved biosimilar. The biosimilar pathway is still a new frontier and one that we expect will enhance access to treatment for patients with serious medical conditions,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Biological products are generally derived from a living organism and can come from many sources, including humans, animals, microorganisms or yeast. A biosimilar is a biological product that is approved based on a showing that it is highly similar to an already-approved biological product and has no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety, purity and potency (i.e., safety and effectiveness) from the reference product, in addition to meeting other criteria specified by law.

The FDA’s approval of Amjevita is based on review of evidence that included structural and functional characterization, animal study data, human pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics data, clinical immunogenicity data and other clinical safety and effectiveness data that demonstrates Amjevita is biosimilar to Humira. It has been approved as a biosimilar, not as an interchangeableproduct.

The most serious known side effects with Amjevita are infections and malignancies. The most common expected adverse reactions with Amjevita are infections and injection site reactions.

Like Humira, the labeling for Amjevita contains a Boxed Warning to alert health care professionals and patients about an increased risk of serious infections leading to hospitalization or death. The Boxed Warning also notes that lymphoma and other malignancies, some fatal, have been reported in children and adolescent patients treated with tumor necrosis factor blockers, including adalimumab products. The drug must be dispensed with a patient Medication Guide that describes important information about its uses and risks.

Amjevita is manufactured by Amgen, Inc., of Thousand Oaks, California. Humira was approved in December 2002 and is manufactured by AbbVie Inc. of North Chicago, Illinois.

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