FDA's Approach to Regulating Biosimilars

Clin Cancer Res. 2017 Apr 15;23(8):1882-1885. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-1354. Epub 2016 Dec 29.


The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation (BPCI) Act, enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act, created a new licensure pathway for biological products demonstrated to be biosimilar with or interchangeable with an FDA-licensed biological product (the "reference product"). The FDA's approach to the regulation of biosimilars is based on the requirements set forth in the BPCI Act. A biosimilar product is highly similar to the reference product, notwithstanding minor differences in clinically inactive components, and there are no clinically meaningful differences between products in terms of safety, purity, and potency. The foundation of a biosimilar development program is an analytic similarity assessment that directly compares the structural/physiochemical and functional properties of the proposed biosimilar with the reference product. Data from clinical studies, which include an assessment of immunogenicity and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, are used to assess for clinically meaningful differences and not to independently establish the safety and effectiveness of the biosimilar. Like all products that the FDA regulates, the FDA requires that biosimilar products meet the agency's rigorous standards of safety and efficacy for approval. That means patients and health care professionals are able to rely upon the safety and effectiveness of biosimilar products in the same manner as for the reference product. Clin Cancer Res; 23(8); 1882-5. ©2016 AACR.

MeSH terms

  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals*
  • Drug Approval / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • United States
  • United States Food and Drug Administration


  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals