Samsung Bioepis has won its first overseas contract to supply Benepali, the biosimilar of Enbrel, the world top-selling arthritis treatment, in Norway, Samsung Bioepis confirmed on Feb. 1.
Biosimilars are drugs designed to have properties similar to other drugs that have previously been licensed, but the biosimilars are offered at lower prices in the market than the original drugs.
The feat has arrived just two weeks after the European Commission approved of Benepali on Jan. 17.
According to Samsung Bioepis, Benepali will be sold at a 47 percent cheaper price than that of the original Enbrel in Norway via Samsung’s European partner, Biogen.
Samsung Bioepis’s Benepali is the first Enbrel biosimilar to be approved in Europe, where sales of Enbrel, supplied by Pfizer, amount to about $2.5 billion. In Norway alone, its sales are posted at $58 million.
Despite the up-coming European approval of another Enbrel biosimilar launched by Norvartis affiliate Sandoz, Samsung Bioepis and Biogen are expected to enjoy a first comer advantage.
This successful launch illustrates Samsung Bioepis’s attempts at paving its way for a fierce competition between brand-name companies and biosimilar drug developers in Norway. In fact, Pfizer has announced that it will lower the price of its original drug to defend its market share.