Celltrion's Proposed REMICADE® Biosimilar Recommended for Approval

by McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

On February 10, 2016, the FDA's Arthritis Advisory Committee recommended approval of biologics license application ("BLA") 125544 submitted by Celltrion, Inc. for CT-P13, a proposed biosimilar to Janssen Biotech Inc.'s REMICADE (infliximab) anti-TNF-α antibody.  According to a press release from Celltrion, the committee voted 21-3 to recommend approval for all sought indications, including treatment of a variety of autoimmune diseases such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and rheumatoid arthritis.  This would be the second biosimilar ever approved in the United States (U.S.) pursuant to the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (BPCIA), and the first biosimilar therapeutic monoclonal antibody.  If the experience with Sandoz's ZarxioTM biosimilar is any indication, the FDA should be expected to approve the application in the next couple of months.  Marketing of the drug may be delayed, however, pending the outcome of Janssen's motion for partial summary judgment and a preliminary and permanent injunction.  A key consideration of that case is the Federal Circuit's Amgen v. Sandoz decision and its interpretation, which may delay marketing for an additional six months because the Notice of Commercial Marketing cannot be effective until approval by the FDA.

Last week, in advance of today's meetings, staff at the FDA released a briefing document in which they reported that the data submitted by Celltrion showed "that CT-P13 is highly similar to US-licensed Remicade, notwithstanding minor differences in clinically inactive components, and that there are no clinically meaningful differences between CT-P13 and US-licensed Remicade in terms of the safety, purity, and potency of the product."  Importantly, much like Sandoz's experience with Zarxio, Celltrion benefited from the fact that CT-P13 has already been approved outside the U.S. for similar indications.  For example, in the EU, South Korea, Japan, and India, Celltrion's biosimilar has been approved for all US-approved indications under the trade names Inflectra and Remsima (although no name has yet been assigned to the U.S. version of the drug).  In Canada, however, the same drug has been approved for all indications except ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease.  Because the development of CT-P13 occurred entirely outside of the U.S., Celltrion had to provide additional comparative data -- in order to "scientifically justify the relevance of that data by establishing an adequate scientific bridge between EU-approved Remicade, the US-licensed reference product and CT-P13."  The FDA explained that this bridging data should always include results from analytical studies, such as structural and functional data that directly compares all products, and should also include bridging PK and/or PD clinical data.

The FDA's briefing document also said that Celltrion had "provided an extensive data package to address the scientific considerations for extrapolation of data to support biosimilarity to other conditions of use and potential licensure of CT-P13 for each of the seven indications for which US-licensed Remicade is currently licensed and for which CT-P13 is eligible for licensure."  Celltrion is seeking to market CT-P13 for the following indications: (1) Crohn's Disease (CD), (2) Pediatric CD, (3) Ulcerative Colitis (UC), (4) Rheumatoid Arthritis, (5) Ankylosing Spondylitis, (6) Psoriatic Arthritis, and (7) Plaque Psoriasis.  In addition, Celltrion is seeking approval for Pediatric CD, but according to the briefing, this indication is protected by orphan drug exclusivity until September 23, 2018.  Unlike in Canada, the committee recommended approval for all sought-after indications in the U.S.

Once the FDA accepts the committee's recommendation and approves Celltrion's application, it may still be at least six months before the biosimilar drug can be marketed.  Unlike Sandoz in the case of Zarxio, Celltrion provided Janssen with its aBLA after it was accepted by the FDA.  Nevertheless, according to the Complaint filed by Janssen in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Celltrion refused to provide the requisite "other information" required by the BPCIA, which would describe the manufacturing process.  Moreover, Celltrion served a notice of commercial marketing on February 5, 2015, indicating that it would begin selling the product as early as August 4, 2015.  Of course, even though this notice occurred after Celltrion's application was accepted, it was significantly before actual approved (especially considering the biosimilar is not yet approved).  Celltrion has responded to Janssen's injunction motions by alleging that the Notice-of-Commercial-Marketing provision of the BPCIA is not a stand-alone provision and that because it took part in the "Patent Dance," it is not required to give such notice.  While Janssen's motion is pending, the Federal Circuit will be considering the almost identical issue in the Amgen v. Apotex case, which we will preview in an upcoming post.

Nevertheless, the committee's vote today is especially significant considering the intense interest focused on biosimilar therapeutic antibodies.  Going into this meeting, there was a lot of uncertainty about just how much information the FDA would require in order for a biosimilar applicant to establish "no clinically meaningful differences" between its biosimilar drug and the reference product.  Of course, Celltrion benefited from extensive data that it had already generated outside of the U.S.  It therefore remains to be seen just how much data the FDA will require for biosimilar therapeutic antibodies that do not have such a history.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.