Comparison of Copaxone® and Synthon's therapeutically equivalent glatiramer acetate
Glatiramer acetate is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (RMS). In 2016, an alternative to the originator product was approved in the EU through the hybrid procedure regulatory pathway. This paper reviews the scientifically rigorous and multifaceted program undertaken to demonstrate the equivalence of this glatiramer acetate follow-on product (GTR) and the reference product Copaxone®, which resulted in the EU approval of GTR 20 mg/mL and 40 mg/mL. Establishing therapeutic equivalence for non-biological complex drugs is not trivial and requires a complex and multidisciplinary effort. Ultimately, there is not a single test or study that establishes therapeutic equivalence of two heterogeneous products. Instead, it requires a good understanding of the synthesis process together with a full set of data that includes comparative physicochemical testing, nonclinical in vitro and in vivo studies, and a comparative clinical study to allow for a valid conclusion that two products are therapeutically equivalent. The detailed understanding of glatiramer's synthesis process and its impact on the characteristics of glatiramer, combined with the results of a scientifically rigorous and multifaceted physicochemical and biological characterization program, and the clinical data from the 794-patient Phase III GATE study, demonstrate that GTR and Copaxone are therapeutically equivalent. The data further demonstrate that Synthon's manufacturing process consistently yields drug substance of the same quality as Copaxone and that switching from Copaxone to GTR is safe and well-tolerated.
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Document Type: Review Article
Publication date: August 1, 2019
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