The early review of a real-world study suggests treatment with Erelzi (etanercept) is well-tolerated by people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and other rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and progressive psoriasis.
The results also revealed that in patients with RA, the only group with available data on efficacy, Erelzi decreased disease activity. Erelzi from Sandoz is a biosimilar of Enbrel from Amgen. Unlike Enbrel, Erelzi is an antagonist of TNF-alpha that blocks a TNF-alpha pro-inflammatory molecule.
A biosimilar has the same active properties as an original brand drug, as well as equal safety and efficacy. Based on the nation and insurance policy, they are expected to cost less than the reference treatments, close to generics. When the original brand product’s patent expires, companies will start producing biosimilars after obtaining a license from their supplier.
The same indications for which Enbrel is available have been approved for Erelzi. These include AS, RA, psoriatic arthritis, idiopathic juvenile arthritis, and psoriasis of plaque. A COMPACT investigator research is currently evaluating the safety and effectiveness of Erelzi in adults with rheumatic diseases.
A total of 430 adults were enrolled in the study through April 2019, including 256 with RA, 93 with AS, and 81 with psoriatic arthritis. Participants were recruited from various clinical centers across Germany, the UK, Spain, Poland, and Canada.
In addition to the COMPACT results, Sandoz, a Novartis company focusing on biosimilars and generics, also reported a report on the financial impact of moving rheumatic disease patients in the U.S. from a brand drug to an etanercept biosimilar.
The study showed that these cost savings can be accomplished by using integrated distribution networks (IDNs) as patients are switching from one drug to another.
The study found that pharmacy cost savings could reach up to $62.4 million over five years for IDNs dealing with low administrative costs, assuming that up to 1,331 patients per year receive etanercept for AS, RA, or juvenile arthritis.
The lower costs can also give people with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and other rheumatic diseases greater access, said Florian Bieber, Sandoz’s global development manager.