FDA Approves Yuflyma as Ninth Adalimumab Biosimilar

Jeff Evans

May 24, 2023

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the biosimilar adalimumab-aaty (Yuflyma) in a citrate-free, high-concentration formulation, the manufacturer, Celltrion USA, announced today. It is the ninth biosimilar of adalimumab (Humira) to be approved in the United States.

Yuflyma is approved for the treatment of adult patients with rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, ulcerative colitis, plaque psoriasis, and hidradenitis suppurativa. It is also approved for polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis for patients aged 2 years or older, as well as for Crohn's disease in adults and in pediatric patients aged 6 years or older.

The formulation was approved on the basis of a comprehensive data package of analytic, preclinical, and clinical studies, according to Celltrion USA, "demonstrating that Yuflyma is comparable to the reference product Humira in terms of efficacy, safety, pharmacokinetics, and immunogenicity up to 24 weeks and 1 year following treatment."

The FDA also conducted a double-blind, randomized phase 3 trial that compared switching from reference adalimumab to Yuflyma with continuing either reference adalimumab or Yuflyma for patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. In that trial, the efficacy, pharmacokinetics, safety, and immunogenicity of Yuflyma and reference adalimumab were comparable after 1 year of treatment, including after switching from reference adalimumab to Yuflyma.

"Currently, more than 80% of patients treated with Humira in the United States rely on a high-concentration and citrate-free formulation of this medication. The availability of a high-concentration and citrate-free formulation adalimumab biosimilar provides an important treatment option for patients with inflammatory diseases who benefit from this effective therapy," said Jonathan Kay, MD, of the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, in the press release.

The citrate-free formulation is thought to lead to less pain on injection.

Yuflyma will be available in prefilled syringe and autoinjector administration options.

Celltrion USA plans to market the drug in the United States in July 2023. Following the initial launch of 40 mg/0.4 mL, Celltrion USA plans to launch dose forms of 80 mg/0.8 mL and 20 mg/0.2 mL.

The company is also seeking an interchangeability designation from the FDA following the completion of an interchangeability trial of 366 patients with chronic plaque psoriasis. The interchangeability designation would mean that patients successfully switched from Humira to Yuflyma multiple times in the trial. The interchangeability designation would allow pharmacists to autosubstitute Humira with Yuflyma. In these cases, individual state laws control how and whether physicians will be notified of this switch.

If interchangeability is approved for Yuflyma, which the company tentatively expects in the fourth quarter of 2024, it would be just the third interchangeable biosimilar approved by the FDA overall and the second adalimumab biosimilar to be designated as such, after adalimumab-adbm (Cyltezo) in October 2021.

Yuflyma was approved in Canada in December 2021 for 10 indications: rheumatoid arthritis, polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, adult Crohn's disease, adult ulcerative colitis, hidradenitis suppurativa, plaque psoriasis, adult uveitis, and pediatric uveitis.

In February 2022, the European Commission granted marketing authorization for Yuflyma across those 10 indications, as well as for nonradiographic axial spondyloarthritis, pediatric plaque psoriasis, and pediatric Crohn's disease.

In April 2022, Celltrion USA signed a licensing agreement with AbbVie, the manufacturer of Humira. Under that agreement, Celltrion USA will pay royalties to AbbVie on sales of their individual biosimilars, and AbbVie agreed to drop all patent litigation.

The full prescribing information for Yuflyma is available here.

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