In a major development in an industry better known for manufacturing low-cost generic copies of drugs created in the West, an Indian bio-pharmaceutical company has created a new breast cancer treatment.
Bangalore-based Biocon’s new drug – called CANMab – is reportedly most effective against the most aggressive form of breast cancer in India, a type known as “HER2-positive”, which accounts for roughly a fourth of the 150,000 new diagnoses of the diseases annually in India.
Significantly, CANMab is priced 25 percent lower than the most popular existing breast cancer drug in India; Herceptin which is marketed by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche.
“Biocon intends to make a significant difference in the treatment paradigm for HER2-positive breast cancer in India by enhancing access to more affordable treatment with CANMAb, which offers the same level of safety and efficacy as the reference product (Herceptin),” said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director of Biocon.
CANMAb was developed jointly by Biocon and American biopharma major Mylan under a new global partnership. It is said to be the world’s first biosimilar version of Herceptin.
Global sales for Herceptin stood at $6.4 billion in 2012, while in India it recorded sales of $21 million.