Worldwide experience with biosimilar development

MAbs. 2011 Mar-Apr;3(2):209-17. doi: 10.4161/mabs.3.2.15005. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Limited access for high-quality biologics due to cost of treatment constitutes an unmet medical need in the United States (US) and other regions of the world. The term "biosimilar" is used to designate a follow-on biologic that meets extremely high standards for comparability or similarity to the originator biologic drug that is approved for use in the same indications. Use of biosimilar products has already decreased the cost of treatment in many regions of the world, and now a regulatory pathway for approval of these products has been established in the US. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) led the world with the regulatory concept of comparability, and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) was the first to apply this to biosimilars. Patents on the more complex biologics, especially monoclonal antibodies, are now beginning to expire and biosimilar versions of these important medicines are in development. The new Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act allows the FDA to approve biosimilars, but it also allows the FDA to lead on the formal designation of interchangeability of biosimilars with their reference products. The FDA's approval of biosimilars is critical to facilitating patient access to high-quality biologic medicines, and will allow society to afford the truly innovative molecules currently in the global biopharmaceutical industry's pipeline.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / economics*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Biological Products / economics
  • Biological Products / standards*
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Approval / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Patents as Topic
  • Therapeutic Equivalency
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biological Products