FDA Approves Bevacizumab Biosimilar

Bevacizumab-bvzr (Zirabev; Pfizer), a biosimilar to bevacizumab (Avastin; Genentech) has been given the go-ahead by the FDA for five indications.

Bevacizumab-bvzr will be used for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer; unresectable, locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); recurrent glioblastoma; metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC); and persistent, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.

By recognizing and binding to vascular endothelial growth factor protein (VEGF) Bevacizumab-bvzr inhibits the formation of new blood cells.

“Biosimilars are very important to not only reduce the cost of payers, but also for patients who oftentimes face huge out-of-pocket expenses,” Steven D’Amato, BScPharm, executive director of New England Cancer Specialists, said during a panel at Community Oncology Alliance Conference.

Steven went on to say:

“Twenty percent of $5,000 is different than 20% of $10,000 and, to the patients, that makes a big difference. For us to bring down the total cost of care, we as an oncology community really need to accept biosimilars into this equation because it will improve our ability to provide value-based care moving forward.”

One issue with biosimilars occurs when manufacturers approach insurance companies in a bid to obtain preference for their drug. The experts of the aforementioned panel discussed this saying they are concerned that if there are a number of similar biosimilar agents, insurance companies could strike a deal with a manufacturer and force doctors to use just one of the biosimilars, even if a cheaper biosimilar is available.

Pfizer receives US FDA approval for its oncology biosimilar, Zirabev (bevacizumab-bvzr) [news release]. Pfizer. https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer_receives_u_s_fda_approval_for_its_oncology_biosimilar_zirabev_bevacizumab_bvzr

Written by Thomas Southgate