2021-09-02| Asia-Pacific

South Korea’s Boryung Launches Avastin Biosimilar Developed by Samsung Bioepis

by Kathy Huang
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On September 1, South Korea’s Boryung Pharmaceutical announced the launch of Onbevzi, a biosimilar of Roche’s blockbuster cancer drug Avastin (bevacizumab). Onbevzi was developed by Samsung Bioepis and won approval from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last August.

Boryung acquired exclusive sales rights in Korea for the drug from its developer earlier this May. 

According to data compiled from IQVIA, a data sciences company, Avastin sold over 120 billion KRW in Korea in 2020. Therefore, it is conceivable the market potential of the drug attracted South Korea’s biggest anticancer drugs manufacturer Boryung to plunge in.

Related Article: Addressing The Global Need for Biosimilars: Current Trends, Expectations, and Real-World Experiences


What Is Avastin?

Avastin is a monoclonal antibody developed by Roche. Unlike chemotherapy which attacks cancer cells directly, Avastin strikes the cancer cells from another angle.

The drug blocks the vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A), a protein that is produced in excess by cancer cells. VEGF-A promotes the formation of new blood vessels that supply cancer cells with oxygen and nutrients. By reducing VEGF-A activity, slows down the growth of new blood vessels in patients and therefore prevents tumor progression. 

Avastin is used to treat non-small cell lung cancer, advanced breast cancer, kidney cancer, and bowel cancer. The drug can also be combined with chemotherapy.


Onbevzi’s Advantages over Avastin 

Onbevzi’s indications include metastatic colorectal cancer, breast cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and epithelial ovarian cancer. The indications for Onbevzi overlap with those for Avastin.  

What makes Onbevzi unique is its low price: it is 37% cheaper than Avastin. According to Boryung, the competitiveness in its drug price and the enhanced ease of use will quickly expand its market share in Korea.    

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