The European Commission Just Approved MVASI, One of The First Biosimilar Cancer Drugs

According to an article from PRNewswire, the drug MVASI (biosimilar bevacizumab) was just granted marketing authorization by the European Commission. Developed by Amgen and Allergan, this treatment has been approved for use against several types of cancer, including renal cell carcinoma and certain types of ovarian cancer. It is also cleared for use in combination with other treatments.

Bevaciuzmab has been used and approved for several years as a treatment for different types of cancer. MVASI, as a biosimilar, is essentially identical in most characteristics to the original, although not necessarily completely identical. Biosimilar medicines are able to be produced once the patent for the original drug expires. While this means that MVASI is not exactly an innovative new treatment, the approval marks the first biosimilar cancer treatment from Amgen that has passed the certification of the European Commission. The drug was approved in the United States in September of last year. It was the first cancer treatment biosimilar to obtain approval in that country. The availability of a biosimilar allows for better access to treatment for the population.

Amgen and Allergan worked together to develop in MVASI, and it was the first product that the two companies developed to receive approval in Europe. To companies plan to continue their collaboration to develop future treatments. The two companies first began working together in December 2011, with an agreement to co-develop four different biosimilar medicines. The agreement stipulates that Allergan will be responsible for marketing and commercialization; meanwhile, Amgen will primarily be focused on the design and development aspect for the biosimilars.

Bevacizumab works to fight cancer by targeting the growth of blood vessels in tumors. Blood vessels are essential for cancer tumors to survive and grow, and the drug slows their development so that the tumor is unable to sustain itself. The drug is also used for the treatment of eye disease such as macular degeneration. Although occurring only very rarely, bevacizumab has been implicated in some severe side effects, such as problems with wound healing and gastrointestinal punctures.

The drug is remarkable for its ability to be used effectively in combination with many other treatments to fight cancer and is often used in cases where the cancer has begun to metastasize, or spread to other parts of the body.

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