California-based biopharmceutical company Spectrum Pharmaceuticals will develop a biosimilar version of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Holding AG's monoclonal antibody drug rituximab. Spectrum aims to achieve this through a partnership with Viropro Inc (Irvine, CA).
Rituximab, which is sold as Rituxan by the Genentech unit of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding, is used to treat non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The financial terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. Spectrum's deal with Viropro comes after Teva Pharmaceutical Industries launched efforts last May to develop a biosimilar of rituximab. Roche's rituximab loses patent protection in 2012.
“We are excited at the opportunity to develop our own proprietary biosimilar formulation of rituximab in anticipation of patent expirations for rituximab over the coming years,” said Rajesh C. Shrotriya, MD, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President of Spectrum Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in a company statement.