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Erythropoietins: The Shift from Biosimilars to "more for less" ESAs

Despite stagnant erythropoietin (EPO) sales, four new EPO products were introduced in Europe during the last year, but the pipeline shifts from biosimilar based approaches to next generation erythropoiesis stimulating agents (ESA)

BARCELONA, Spain, July 23, 2008--The Business Intelligence firm La Merie S.L.reported that for the first time sales of major erythropoietin products declined to US$11.8 bln in 2007, down by US$ 100 mln from the previous year. Additionally, four newepoetin based products were launched in European countries, among them twobiosimilars, epoetin delta produced in a human cell line and Roche’s pegylated version ofepoetin beta. Concerns about overusage and safety are expected to further cause adecline of erythropoietin sales in the major markets. Nevertheless, the huge potential ofthe erythropoietin market still attracts an ever increasing number of competitors. Whilethe pipeline of first generation epoetin biosimilars is stagnant, new technologies stimulatethe pipeline of next generation products with at least seven in clinical evaluation and 25in preclinical R&D. These results and more were found in a search conducted by La MerieBusiness Intelligence. The evaluation can be acquired at La Merie’s online store(

The report provides information on the pipeline of epoetin biosimilars currently indevelopment for highly regulated markets. The marketed biosimilar products currentlyare priced at 25 to 30 % less than the previous originator price which hardly isconvincing prescribing physicians so far. Key success factors for next generation ESAsare technology platforms, the market presence and portfolio as well as the low costposition of the company overall in order to successfully launch an ESA with better clinicalfeatures for less money ("more for less"). Teva’s recent acquisition of CoGenesysexemplifies this policy. The albumin fusion technology allows to cost-efficiently produceESAs and other biosimilars with a prolonged half-life to be marketed by the leadinggenerics company. The report compiles in a tabulated format next generation ESAs whichinclude engineered proteins, fusion proteins, conjugated and dimeric peptides,antibodies, small molecules, gene therapy approaches and new expression technologies.The report also provides an overview on the worldwide manufacturers of recombinantepoetin in off-patent countries.

About La Merie La Merie S.L. is a Business Intelligence enterprise fully dedicated to provide high qualityR&D information to the biopharmaceutical industry. La Merie offers individual consultancyservices and publishes reports and periodicals. For more information About is the News Center and Online Store of La Merie BusinessIntelligence focused on Research and Development in the Biopharmaceutical Industry.Visitors of will find R&D relevant press releases and can receiveselected R&D news from one or more of the site’s News Channels. La Merie Daily andLa Merie Biologics conveniently bring via e-mail a daily or weekly selection of the mostinteresting news from biopharmaceutical R&D.

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Posted: July 2008