Switch from reference etanercept to SDZ ETN, an etanercept biosimilar, does not impact efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity of etanercept in patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis: 48-week results from the phase III, randomized, double-blind EQUIRA study

Arthritis Res Ther. 2019 May 28;21(1):130. doi: 10.1186/s13075-019-1907-x.


Background: Sandoz etanercept (SDZ ETN; GP2015) is an etanercept biosimilar with equivalent efficacy and comparable safety and immunogenicity to reference etanercept (ETN) in patients with moderate-to-severe chronic plaque-type psoriasis.

Methods: EQUIRA was a phase III, double-blind study conducted in patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis and inadequate response to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs. Eligible patients were randomized 1:1 to receive subcutaneous 50 mg SDZ ETN or ETN, once-weekly, for 24 weeks. At week 24, patients with at least moderate EULAR response in the SDZ ETN group continued SDZ ETN treatment, and those in the ETN group were switched to receive 50 mg SDZ ETN, for up to 48 weeks. Patients received concomitant methotrexate at a stable dose (10-25 mg/week) and folic acid (≥ 5 mg/week). Equivalence between SDZ ETN and ETN for change from baseline in disease activity score including 28 joint count C-reactive protein (DAS28-CRP) at week 24 (primary endpoint) and comparable safety and immunogenicity profile of SDZ ETN and ETN have previously been demonstrated at week 24. Herein, we present the 48-week results of the study after a single switch from ETN to its biosimilar at week 24.

Results: The least squares mean (standard error) change in DAS28-CRP from baseline up to week 48 was comparable between "continued SDZ ETN" (- 2.90 [0.12], n = 148) and "switched to SDZ ETN" (- 2.78 [0.13], n = 131) groups. The proportion of patients achieving EULAR good/moderate responses based on DAS28-erythrocyte sedimentation rate and ACR20/50/70 response rates were comparable between the two groups. The proportion of patients with at least one treatment-emergent adverse event was 42.9% in the "continued SDZ ETN" and 38.0% in the "switched to SDZ ETN" groups. Serious adverse events occurred in 4 patients in each of the two groups. After week 24, none of the patients in the switched group developed anti-drug antibodies (ADAs), while 4 patients in the continued SDZ ETN group had single-event, very low titer, non-neutralizing ADAs detected.

Conclusions: The 48-week results from the EQUIRA study demonstrate that switch from ETN to SDZ ETN in patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis does not impact the efficacy, safety, or immunogenicity of etanercept.

Trial registration: EudraCT number 2012-002009-23 , Registered 19 April 2012-prospectively registered.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02638259.

Keywords: Biosimilar; Etanercept; Rheumatoid arthritis; SDZ ETN; Switch; Tumor necrosis factor inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antirheumatic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antirheumatic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / drug therapy*
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals / pharmacokinetics
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Substitution
  • Etanercept / pharmacokinetics
  • Etanercept / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Therapeutic Equivalency
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals
  • GP2015
  • Etanercept

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02638259