Sandoz reviewing options after Federal Circuit upholds lower court ruling in biosimilar Erelzi case

Ruling continues to prevent launch of important, affordable treatment option for US patients affected by chronic autoimmune and inflammatory diseases

Sandoz remains deeply committed to making Erelzi available to US patients as soon as possible, contributing to a more sustainable healthcare system

Holzkirchen, Germany, July 1, 2020 - Sandoz, a Novartis division and a global leader in biosimilars, today announced that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal District has ruled against Sandoz in patent litigation concerning the Sandoz biosimilar Erelzi (etanercept-szzs) for reference medicine Enbrel * (etanercept).

Today’s decision upholds a prior ruling from the New Jersey District Court, which declared the Amgen patents valid. Sandoz is evaluating its options, which may include an appeal to the US Supreme Court.

"Sandoz will continue its efforts to make Erelzi available to US patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases," said Carol Lynch, President of Sandoz US and Head of North America. "Our company respects valid intellectual property, however Sandoz continues to believe the patents asserted by Amgen are not valid, and that it should not be able to use them to extend the drug’s exclusivity."

Sandoz is the first company to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a biosimilar etanercept. Erelzi has been approved in the US for more than three years, since August 2016, however Sandoz has been unable to launch this medicine in the US due to the ongoing patent litigation with Amgen.

With the trend towards increased spending on specialty medicines only expected to grow,1 biosimilars play an important role in enabling more patients to access biologic medicines and may offer significant savings for patients, helping to alleviate the overburdened healthcare system.2,3 Estimates suggest that a biosimilar etanercept could save the US healthcare system around USD one billion a year.4

"Biosimilars can make tremendous contributions to the sustainability of US healthcare5 and enhance patient access to biologic medicines, which are often life-changing treatment options for patients with chronic illness," said Colin C. Edgerton, MD, a rheumatologist and Executive Chairman of the American Rheumatology Network. "Data and real-world experience affirm there are no changes in safety and efficacy when patients switch between a biosimilar and a reference medicine.6"

Sandoz will continue to help millions of patients in oncology, immunology, endocrinology and other underserved therapy areas access biologic medicines sustainably and affordably. Sandoz was the first to launch a biosimilar in the US, and Erelzi is one of the company’s four FDA-approved biosimilar medicines.7

About biosimilars

Biosimilars are approved biologics with comparable quality, safety and efficacy to existing biologics, and go through an extensive regulatory evaluation and approval process. A 10-year-plus growing body of real-world evidence in highly-regulated markets shows biosimilar adoption greatly increases usage of biologic medicines while delivering matched safety, efficacy and quality profiles.8

About Erelzi
Erelzi is the Sandoz biosimilar of the reference medicine Enbrel . Erelzi has been studied in a global development program, which included a comprehensive comparison of Erelzi and Enbrel at the analytical, preclinical, and clinical levels. The program included preclinical studies, pharmacokinetic (PK) studies, and the Phase III confirmatory safety and efficacy EGALITY study. Erelzi is approved by the FDA for the following indications: adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis (AS), polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and moderate to severe plaque psoriasis (PsO).

Erelzi is a registered trademark of Novartis AG.