Healthcare major Zydus Cadila has launched Trastuzumab Emtansine, the first Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) biosimilar and a “highly” effective drug for treating both early and advanced HER2 positive breast cancer, under the brand ‘Ujvira’. HER2 positive breast cancer is considered an aggressive form and constitutes 20 – 25% of all breast cancers., the company said.
In a step that can significantly reduce treatment cost by almost 80%, the drug is being offered at Rs 32 495 for a 100 mg vial. The current MRP of the existing Trastuzumab Emtansine drug is Rs 1,59,225 for 100 mg vial. Ujvira will be available in two strengths, 100 mg and 160 mg, it also informed.
“The launch of Ujvira reinforces the innovation capabilities that India has to be able to create complex therapies like ADCs and Zydus’ ongoing commitment to offer breakthroughs backed by science and innovation. This research breakthrough enables access to a critical drug for patients who are undergoing therapy for breast cancer. We hope that with this innovation, patients will be able to adhere to the treatment and stand to benefit from the advanced technology without worrying about the cost of the treatment,” Dr Sharvil Patel, Managing Director, Cadila Healthcare Ltd said.
According to Dr Patel, Trastuzumab Emtansine ADC biosimilar is a developmental breakthrough due to its complexity in manufacturing and similarity assays. This drug is made by combining Trastuzumab and a cytotoxic compound Emtansine (DM1) with the help of a stable linker by a process called Antibody Drug Conjugation.
“Due to this technology the targeted delivery of the cytotoxic agent is enabled and the other toxicities on the body are reduced. Ujvira is backed up with a rigorous drug development programme. Patients already treated with Trastuzumab may still have the disease and would require this therapy as the next step. The high cost of therapy is a barrier to availing this therapy and Ujvira bridges this need,” he added.
With more than 2.1 lakh new cases in 2020, breast cancer is the leading cancer in females in India, and the risk increases with age. It is estimated that 1 in 29 women in India has a risk of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. Though rare, the incidence of HER2 breast cancer is also found in men. Other risk factors such as obesity, family history, genetics, alcohol, smoking, hormonal imbalance, and improper diet have been identified as the contributing factors towards an increased incidence of breast cancer.