Cipla, Hetero to roll out biosimilar drug

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

With a second marketing alliance for a biosimilar drug on the cards, drugmaker Cipla is looking to build its pipeline through in-house generated products or similar marketing opportunities, said Jaideep Gogtay, Cipla’s Chief Medical Officer, following Cipla’s tie-up with Hyderabad-based Hetero.

The duo will rollout a biosimilar version of Darbepoetin alfa under the brandname ‘Actorise’.

The drug, used to treat anaemia, is available in pre-filled syringes, priced at ₹1,500 for 25 mcg and ₹2,200 for 40 mcg.

While Hetero makes the product, Cipla would market it, Gogtay said, adding that Hetero could strike up similar deals with other companies.

The original maker of the biological drug Darbepoetin alfa is Amgen, but it is unavailable in India, he said.

In 2010, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories had launched its biosimilar version of this drug in India.

A biological drug is derived from a natural source that could be human, animal or a micro-organism, but a biosimilar is a product similar to the innovator’s drug.

Last year, Cipla had launched its first biosimilar drug, Etanercept, to treat rheumatism.

The product was brought into India through a marketing alliance with Shanghai CP Guojian Pharmaceutical Co.


Darbepoetin alfa helps stimulate the creation of red blood cells from the bone-marrow, explained Gogtay, adding that the product was a second-generation erythropoietin.

It helps shore-up haemoglobin levels in patients.

More than 100,000 patients each year need renal replacement therapy or dialysis and renal transplant.

Since most of these patients develop anaemia, they will need Darbepoetin alfa to maintain their haemoglobin and reduce the need for blood transfusion, he added.

Recombinant human erythropoietin (epoetin), given through subcutaneous injection, was first developed as a treatment for anaemia associated with chronic kidney disease.

And while it has been effective in increasing the haemoglobin levels, the drug has to be given one to three times a week, resulting in compromised patient compliance.

Darbepoetin alfa maintains haemoglobin levels for a longer period of time, and so the dose is only weekly, he explained.


Published on June 19, 2014

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