LG Chem Ltd., chemical and battery making unit under South Korea’s leading conglomerate LG Group, said on Friday that it has received marketing approval of its biosimilar drug LBEC0101 from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.
The reference drug for the biosimilar is Enbrel, a treatment for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, developed by multinational pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. and sold by Pfizer Inc. The active ingredient in Embrel is etanercept.
LG Chem’s LBEC0101 is the first copycat drug of Embrel to be approved by Japan.
It has taken nearly six years for the Korean company to get the approval since the company signed a contract with Japan’s Mochida Pharmaceutical Co. in 2012 to promote joint research and development of the biosimilar as well as its sale in the Japanese market.
Following the approval by Japan’s health ministry, LG Chem plans to produce finished products of the copycat drug at its facility in Osong, North Chungcheong Province in Korea. Mochida Pharmaceutical and Japanese rheumatoid arthritis specialty firm Ayumi Pharmaceutical Corp. will jointly sell the drug in Japan once the Korean firm supplies it.
By Kang Doo-soon and Lee Eun-joo
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