iStock_000012772174SmallHere’s a problem that pharma and biotech executives (and we at ZS) are trying hard to solve: When it comes to biosimilars—the biotech drugs rated equivalent to biologic innovators—what will convince physicians, patients and payers to switch?

In discussions with industry leaders, we’re hearing about this dilemma with increasing frequency. It’s easy to see why, with biosimilar sales expected to reach $24 billion in domestic sales by 2019. Globally, the boom is already underway, with estimated sales of $180 billion by 2018.

But while biosimilars clearly present an opportunity for new entrants and a threat to biologic innovators, it’s less clear how a biosimilar’s introduction will affect market dynamics. Will a biosimilar quickly gain a large share of the market, as with many small-molecule generics, or will the nature of a biologic and the condition it treats limit market share erosion for the innovator?

We try to answer those questions in How Biosimilars Track a Unique Path: Three Case Studies to Help Anticipate Biosimilar Entry in Your Market, a new ZS white paper. The paper presents three case studies of biosimilar-like product launches in the United States: Omnitrope (approved as a biosimilar for Genotropin), VPRIV (Cerezyme) and enoxaparin (Lovenox).

What the case studies revealed was that biosimilars may have far different market effects than generics—and these effects vary from drug to drug. Even with significant price discounts to innovator products, a host of other factors, such as therapy area dynamics, physician behavior and marketing strategies play a large part in biosimilar uptake.

The paper is one of the first to examine real-life examples in the emerging biosimilars field. After reading the paper, please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Topics: Pharma, innovator, Biosimilars, biotech executives, physician, Judith Kulich