Celltrion applies for approval to sell cancer drug in Japan

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Celltrion applies for approval to sell cancer drug in Japan

Celltrion, a leading biopharmaceutical company, said Wednesday it has applied to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan for approval to sell its cancer biosimilar drug Herzuma in Japan.

Biosimilar refers to an almost identical copy of a product produced by a different company. Herzuma is a biosimilar version of trastuzumab, known by its brand name Herceptin. Swiss drug firm Roche held the patent for Herceptin.

Herzuma is the second biosimilar product the Songdo, Incheon-based Celltrion has received approval for in Korea.

The market for the original Herceptin is estimated at 450 billion won ($394.3 million) in Japan and Celltrion hopes o launch the biosimilar version next year.

Celltrion’s Japanese distribution partner Nippo Kayaku acquired the sales rights for Herzuma and its top-selling rheumatoid arthritis biosimilar Remsima in 2010. The latter has been selling in Japan since 2014.

By Seo Ji-eun
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