Torrent launches world's second biosimilar of generic auto-immune drug

Ahmedabad-based drug major Torrent Pharmaceuticals launched its biosimilar for Adalimumab, a therapy for the treatment of auto immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis etc, across India today. Torrent's Adfrar would be the second biosimilar of Adalimumab in the world.

Adalimumab has wide applications for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, ulcerative colitis and plaque psoriasis. It is the largest selling drug globally (the innovator brand Humira, which is owned by AbbVie Inc, has sales of $15 billion), and Torrent's brand Adfrar will be the second biosimilar Adalimumab in the world.

Another leading Gujarat-based company Cadila Healthcare (Zydus Cadila) had launched a biosimilar version of Adalimumab in December 2014 under the brand name Exemptia to treat auto immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The drug costs one-fifth of the original, and the company markets it through Zydus Biovation, a new division.

Torrent's Adfrar will be available as pre-filled syringe of 40mg, and the company plans to promote its drug to rheumatologists, gastroenterologists and dermatologists pan India. For this, three separate super speciality task force have been introduced, and around 100 trained professionals are employed in these greenfield divisions.

Torrent is already marketing the biosimilar of Rituximab under the brand name Toritz in oncology segment while a super speciality division for nephrology launched in 2014 is marketing the biosimilar of Darbepoetin alpha (Darbatitor). It had entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with Reliance Life Sciences for marketing three biosimilars in India - Rituximab, Adalimumab and Cetuximab.

While Rituximab and Cetuximab cater to the oncology segment and are used in the treatment of various cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma, colorectal, head and neck, Adalimumab is the therapy for the treatment of auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). According to the terms of the agreement, Reliance Life Sciences will manufacture these products at its facility in Navi Mumbai and supply to Torrent Pharma for a period of 10 years, after obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals.

Ruchir Modi, executive director, marketing of Torrent Pharma said that the company now covers most of the specialities and plans to enter the urology and opthalmology segments in the near future.

Besides promoting biosimilar Adalimumab Adfrar IB to gastroenterologists, the super speciality task force would also cater to the needs in hepatology. Torrent has launched new generation Hepatitis C antiviral Sofosbuvir under the brand name Sofocruz, a combination of Sofosbuvir and Ledipasvir called Sofocruz LP and Daclatasvir (brand name Dclacruz).

With annual revenues of Rs 4,700 crore, Torrent Pharma has plants in Indrad, Baddi, Sikkim and Dahej and has recently acquired a plant in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh to produce derma products.


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