Biosimilars have the potential to broaden patient access to biologics and provide cost savings for health care systems. During the development of a biosimilar, data that directly compare the proposed biosimilar with the reference product are required. Such comparative data are generated in a stepwise hierarchical process that begins with extensive laboratory-based structural analyses and functional assays. This initial analytical phase serves as the foundation for the demonstration of biosimilarity and is followed by nonclinical in vivo testing (if required) and then clinical evaluation, including a comparative pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics study that is usually conducted in healthy volunteers. The development program typically culminates with a comparative clinical efficacy study. The aim of this study is to confirm clinical equivalence of the potential biosimilar and reference product on the basis of prespecified margins, using a study population and efficacy end point that are sufficiently sensitive for detecting potential product-related differences. Such studies also include detailed analyses of safety as well as evaluation of immunogenicity. As biosimilars become more widely available in oncology, especially with recent regulatory approvals of rituximab, trastuzumab, and bevacizumab biosimilars, it is critically important that clinicians understand how the comparative clinical study differs from a traditional phase III efficacy and safety study in the development of a novel biologic originator product. Here, we review the role of comparative clinical studies in biosimilar development, with a focus on trials conducted to support approved trastuzumab biosimilars. We discuss the study populations and end points used, extrapolation of indications, and the confirmatory nature of these studies within the totality of evidence supporting biosimilarity.
View details for DOI 10.1200/JCO.19.02953
View details for PubMedID 32058846