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Celltrion's anticancer biosimilar debuts in Japan

By Yu Ji-soo

Published : Jan. 26, 2023 - 15:03

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Celltrion's anticancer bevacizumab biosimilar Vegzelma (Celltrion Healthcare) Celltrion's anticancer bevacizumab biosimilar Vegzelma (Celltrion Healthcare)

Celltrion Healthcare, the marketing unit of South Korean drug developer Celltrion, announced Thursday that it has expanded its product portfolio with the recent launch of its cancer-fighting biosimilar Vegzelma in Japan.

Vegzelma is a biosimilar referencing Bevacizumab, which is sold under the brand name Avastin. In September of last year, the drug received sales approval from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and more. Japan is home to the world’s second largest Bevacizumab market worth 900 billion won ($730 million).

Celltrion Healthcare pins high hopes on Vegzelma’s solid foothold in the market. This is because the specific cancers that it targets are affected by the Diagnosis Procedure Combination, an acute inpatient classification method developed in Japan that is compatible with biosimilars.

The company plans to use the experience and knowledge it gained from the sales of Herzuma, another Celltrion biosimilar used to treat various cancers that is already being sold in Japan, to develop diversified marketing strategies and increase prescriptions.

“The rapidly aging population of Japan is putting financial pressure on the government, leading to a higher interest in biosimilars. We are taking numerous measures to secure a place in the market for Vegzelma,” the company said in a statement.