Biosimilars in Oncology: KOL Insight

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Publication Date:
January 2016
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Will physicians ever adopt Biosimilars in Oncology?

Sceptical, survival focussed oncologists that make treatment decisions in life or death situations aren't yet ready to accept biosimilars of proven targeted treatments. So what do pharma companies need to do to increase confidence and ensure uptake of biosimilars in this toughest of markets?

Biosimilars in Oncology: KOL Insight spells out the concerns about equivalence, evidence and endpoints with insights into the current challenges from 12 leading North American and European KOLs. Understand what you need to do to convince oncologists to use biosimilars.

"Cost, cost, cost. It's the one and only driver of biosimilar usage in the US."
- US key opinion leader

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Answering key questions about oncology biosimilars

  • Quality of evidence is a hurdle to overcome: What’s worrying KOLs about the evidence available for biosimilars?
  • Patient concerns outweigh cost issues: Why do proven results govern treatment choices every time?
  • Survival data issues dominate thinking: Why are comparisons with reference products seen as essential by oncologists?
  • Treatment setting is a factor: Are there different views on the use and take-up of biosimilars for supportive care v the treatment space?
  • Information is hard to find: Why is so little published in key medical journals and is this likely to improve?
  • Participation in trials is a low priority: What’s holding back participation in trials that could produce the conclusive evidence oncologists badly want?
  • Conflict between prescribers and payers set to continue: How are conflicts between payers and prescribers likely to be resolved?
  • Adoption rates: How soon will it be before biosimilars are used more widely in oncology and what other factors are holding this back?

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Top takeaways

  • Conflicting pressures on biosimilar adoption: Oncologists are resisting moves to drive down costs from payers despite increasing treatment outlay
  • Oncologists have specific needs: Pharma companies need to understand exactly what evidence is needed to convince physicians to use biosimilar treatments
  • More education wanted: The vast majority of physicians want more education on biosimilars both from companies and as continuing medical education
  • EU and US at odds over naming conventions and labelling: There are concerns over confusion and traceability in product names
  • Biosimilar awareness growing: Awareness is higher in Europe than the US although this is improving with the recent launch of Zarxio (Sandoz)
  • Prompt action is needed: Given the time it takes to reach the market, pharma companies need to make sure evidence issues are addressed early

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Key issues explored

  • An in-depth summary of the oncology biosimilars landscape, including details of several high profile late-stage programmes
  • The oncology products that biosimilars are targeting
  • The economic burden of cancer and the potential solutions biosimilars could offer
  • Barriers and drivers for biosimilar adoption in the oncology setting
  • Whether oncologists understand the technical, clinical and regulatory aspects of biosimilars
  • The likely adoption rates for key therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs)

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A report based on expert knowledge

KOLs from the US
  • Joshua Brody: Assistant Professor of Medicine, Haematology and Medical Oncology, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, NY.
  • Young Kwang Chae: Assistant Professor in Medicine, Haematology and Oncology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL.
  • Thai H. Ho: Medical Oncologist, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, AZ.
  • Philip Lammers: Chief of the Division of Haematology/Oncology at Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN.
  • Bradley J. Monk: Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Creighton University School of Medicine, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Igor Puzanov: Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Haematology-Oncology, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN.
KOLs from Europe
  • Anonymous German KOL: This physician specialises in haematology, oncology and tumour immunology.
  • Mark Drummond: Lead Clinician, Blood Cancers, West of Scotland Managed Clinical Network for Haemato-Oncology, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
  • Rebecca Kristeleit: Consultant Medical Oncologist, North London Gynaecological Cancer Network, University College London, UK.
  • Alberto Ocaña: Director of Translational Cancer Research Unit, Albacete University Hospital, Spain.
  • Sheila Piva: Consultant Oncologist, Department of Oncology, Fatebenefratelli e Oftalmico, Milan, Italy.
  • Ayhan Ulusakarya: Consultant Physician, Medical Oncology, Paul Brousse Hospital, Paris, France.

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