Celltrion to study efficacy of Remsima on COVID-19 in Britain

Seoul, An affiliate of South Korean biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion Inc. said Wednesday that it will begin a study on the treatment efficacy of its biosimilar Remsima on the novel coronavirus.

Celltrion Healthcare, which handles Celltrion’s overseas business, said the trial study of Remsima, a biosimilar drug to treat autoimmune diseases, will be conducted in Britain this month, South Korean News Agency (Yonhap).

The study will be conducted in collaboration with Marc Feldmann, an immunologist at the University of Oxford, it said.

In April, Feldmann said anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor should be used to treat COVID-19 patients, as antibodies have been used for more than 20 years in severe cases of autoimmune inflammatory disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

“We propose that anti-TNF therapy should be evaluated in patients with COVID-19 on hospital admission to prevent progression to needing intensive care support,” according to his research paper released in the medical journal Lancet.

Remsima, also a TNF inhibitor, is an identical copy of Janssen Biotech, Inc.’s Remicade and is effective in treating various autoimmune diseases, from rheumatoid arthritis to Crohn’s disease.

Remsima was Celltrion’s second biosimilar approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Biosimilars are officially approved copycat medicines developed after patents for the original drugs expire.