Population pharmacokinetics of adalimumab biosimilar adalimumab-adbm and reference product in healthy subjects and patients with rheumatoid arthritis to assess pharmacokinetic similarity

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2020 Nov;86(11):2274-2285. doi: 10.1111/bcp.14330. Epub 2020 Jun 11.


Aims: Adalimumab-adbm is a monoclonal antibody developed as a biosimilar to adalimumab (Humira, AbbVie Inc.). The key objectives of this study were using a population pharmacokinetic (PPK) approach to assess pharmacokinetic (PK) similarity between adalimumab-adbm and Humira in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (RA), to quantify the effects of potential covariates on adalimumab PK and to assess the impact of switching treatment from Humira to adalimumab-adbm on PK.

Methods: A PPK model was firstly developed using intensive PK data from the phase-1 study in healthy subjects (NCT02045979). PPK models were developed separately for phase-3 base study (NCT02137226) and its extension study (NCT02640612) in patients with active RA.

Results: PPK models were developed for adalimumab from adalimumab-adbm and Humira treatment in healthy subjects and RA patients. Weight and anti-drug antibodies were found to be important predictors of adalimumab clearance. Adalimumab PK was similar between adalimumab-adbm and Humira. The estimated effect of Humira on clearance, relative to the adalimumab-adbm, was 1.02 (i.e., Humira has 0.02 greater clearance). Similarly, the effect of treatment arms (switching) on clearance was estimated to be 1.00 and 0.997 for Humira:Humira:BI and Humira:BI:BI arms, respectively, relative to the BI:BI:BI arm (BI refers to adalimumab-adbm) in the phase-3 extension study.

Conclusion: PK similarity between adalimumab-adbm and Humira in patients with active RA was demonstrated using PPK approach. Adalimumab PK was also similar when switching treatment from Humira to adalimumab-adbm at either week 24 or 48.

Keywords: biosimilar; pharmacokinetics; rheumatoid arthritis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adalimumab / metabolism
  • Antirheumatic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / drug therapy
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals* / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Therapeutic Equivalency


  • Antirheumatic Agents
  • Biosimilar Pharmaceuticals
  • Adalimumab

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02640612
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02045979
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02137226