Alvotech and Cipla partner to ensure access to biosimilars in SA

Biopharmaceutical company Alvotech and Cipla Medpro, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cipla Limited, have entered into an exclusive partnership to bring key biosimilars to patients in emerging markets such as South Africa. The biosimilar portfolio will include five biosimilar medicines – two for oncology and three for treating auto-immune diseases. 

Biologics or biological products are medicines made from living organisms through highly complex manufacturing processes. These medicines have revolutionised the treatment of life-threatening and chronic diseases, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. 

A biosimilar is a biologic that is highly ‘similar’, but not chemically identical to another biologic medicine (known as a reference product). They work as well as the original drug and are used the same way, for the same condition. 

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay
A biosimilar is a biologic drug is highly ‘similar’, but not chemically identical to another biologic medicine

Lowering costs to transform the market

Because of the complex production processes, the cost of biologics is often higher than chemical drugs and therefore only a small percentage of patients are able to access these treatments. Biosimilars will helps to reduce the cost of medication in the same way that generics helped to bring down the cost of medication. 

Cipla aims to transform the biosimilar market by increasing access as part of its ethos of ‘caring for life’ and ensuring access to high quality, affordable medicine. 

Mark Levick, Alvotech’s chief executive officer, comments: “We’re delighted to establish this important partnership with Cipla, which is an ideal commercial partner with a leading presence in the South African pharmaceutical market. Together we will provide patients with better access to high quality and cost-effective biosimilar medicines.” 

Under the partnership, Alvotech will be responsible for development and supply of the products, while Cipla will be responsible for the registration and commercialisation.  

CEO of Cipla South Africa, Paul Miller, adds: “We are happy to partner with Alvotech as this significantly adds to our portfolio of offerings in the global biosimilars space. This is in line with our purpose of ‘caring for life’ and ensuring accessible and effective treatment options to patients.”

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