Adalimumab Biosimilars on the Horizon (Finally) Plus Two Studies

GoodRx Health (Jan 3, 2023): Humira Biosimilar Boom: 8 Meds Launching in 2023 There are more than 17 billion reasons why there are 8 new adalimumab (Humira) biosimilars coming to the market.


1. Amjevita

Amjevita (adalimumab-atto) will be available in prefilled autoinjector pens (40 mg) and prefilled syringes (20 mg, 40 mg). Amjevita products will come in low-concentration forms, but they will be citrate-free. It’s expected to launch on January 31, 2023.

2. Cyltezo

Cyltezo (adalimumab-adbm) became the first biosimilar to be designated as interchangeable with HumiraInterchangeable biosimilars go through additional studies to determine whether you can switch back and forth between the biosimilar and the original product without issues. Biosimilars without this designation haven’t gone through these same studies. 

Cyltezo will only be available in a prefilled syringe and will come in two doses: 20 mg and 40 mg. Both are low-concentration forms and citrate-free. Cyltezo is expected to launch in the U.S. as early as July 1, 2023.

3. Hyrimoz

Hyrimoz (adalimumab-adaz): a 40 mg dose will be available in both a pen and a syringe. A 10 mg syringe will also be available. Both are low-concentration forms. These products contain citric acid, which is closely related to citrate. Citric acid can also make injections more painful. A citrate-free high-concentration form of Hyrimoz is currently under FDA review. Hyrimoz is expected to launch in the U.S. on September 30, 2023.

4. Hadlima

Hadlima (adalimumab-bwwd) will be available in both an autoinjector and a syringe in a 40 mg dose. And it will come in both low- and high-concentration forms. The high-concentration form will be citrate-free. Hadlima is expected to launch in the U.S. on or after July 1, 2023.

5. Abrilada

Abrilada (adalimumab-afzb) will be available in a prefilled pen (40 mg) and in a syringe (10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg). All Abrilada products will be low-concentration forms and citrate-free. Abrilada’s manufacturer has applied for interchangeable status with Humira. Abrilada is expected to launch in the U.S. as early as July 1, 2023.

6. Hulio

Hulio (adalimumab-fkjp) will be available in a prefilled pen (40 mg) and in a syringe (20 mg and 40 mg). All forms are low-concentration and citrate-free. Hulio is expected to launch in the U.S. on or after July 1, 2023.

7. Yusimry

Yusimry (adalimumab-aqvh) will only be available in a 40 mg prefilled syringe. It will be in a low-concentration form and citrate-free. Yusimry is expected to launch in the U.S. on or after July 1, 2023.

8. Idacio

Idacio (adalimumab-aacf) will be available in a 40 mg dose in both a pen and a syringe. Both forms will be low-concentration and citrate-free. Idacio is expected to launch in the U.S. as early as July 1, 2023.

My take: In high school, one of math teachers used to call me Hochman sub-1 and my twin brother Hochman sub-2. Perhaps, we can start designating biosimilars in a similar fashion?

Related blog posts:

Two other important studies I wanted to cite -both studies have Benjamin Gold, one of my better-known partners, as one of the authors:

  • KA Chien, C Thomas, V Cooley, T Weinstein, KF Murray, L Muir, C Hayes, BD Gold, LM Gerber, CG Sauer, G Tomer. JPGN 2023; 76: 25-32. Physician Burnout in Pediatric Gastroenterology In this survey with 408 responses (23% response rate), the authors found 29% reported high risk for emotional exhaustion, 18% reported high risk for depersonalization, and 33% reported overall burnout.
  • VC Cohran, BD Gold, DJ Spencer, CR Cole. JPGN 2022; 75: 689-691. Health Care Disparities in Gastroenterology: The Pediatric Gastroenterology Perspective This commentary reviewed survey results highlighting healthcare disparities which have been identified in IBD, NALFD, and liver transplantation. The authors outline some of the steps that NASPGHAN has taken as well as some of the work that is needed.

SEAVUE: Head-to-Head Ustekimumab vs. Adalimumab

BE Sands et al.Lancet 2022; 399: 2200-2211. Ustekinumab versus adalimumab for induction and maintenance therapy in biologic-naive patients with moderately to severely active Crohn’s disease: a multicentre, randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, phase 3b trial

Methods: This was  “a randomised, double-blind, parallel-group, active-comparator, phase 3b trial (SEAVUE) at 121 hospitals or private practices in 18 countries. We included biologic-naive patients aged 18 years or older with moderately to severely active Crohn’s…Eligible patients were randomly assigned (1:1; via an interactive web response system) to receive ustekinumab (approximately 6 mg/kg intravenously on day 0, then 90 mg subcutaneously once every 8 weeks) or adalimumab (160 mg on day 0, 80 mg at 2 weeks, then 40 mg once every 2 weeks, subcutaneously) through week 56. Study treatments were administered as monotherapy and without dose modifications.”

386 patients were enrolled.

Key findings:

  • 29 (15%) of 191 patients in the ustekinumab group and 46 (24%) of 195 in the adalimumab group discontinued study treatment before week 52
  • At week 52, 124 (65%) of 191 patients in the ustekinumab group versus 119 (61%) of 195 in the adalimumab group were in clinical remission (CDAI <150)
  • Endoscopic remission at week 52: ustekinumab 29% and for adalimumab 29%
  • Endoscopic response at week 52: ustekinumab 42%and for adalimumab 37%
  • Rapid onset of clinical response was seen with both therapies with improvement noted as early as week 2 assessment
  • Antidrug antibodies were less frequent with ustekinumab compared to adalimumab: 2% vs 74%.
  • Infections were reported in 65 (34%) of ustekinumab group compared to 79 (41%) of adalimumab group. Serious infections were reported in four (2%) of 191 patients in the ustekinumab group and five (3%) of 195 in the adalimumab group.
  • No deaths occurred through week 52 of the study.

My take:

  1. Both medications had a high similar response rate. Ustekinumab had fewer patients discontinue medication and lower immunogenicity which could improve efficacy/duration of response in an extended study.
  2. It is good to see a well-designed head-to-head study rather than a placebo-control arm. Placebo-based studies are hard to justify given the availability of multiple effective agents.

Near Denali, AK

Kids Are Different: Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

NH Nguyen et al. Gastroenterol 2022; 163: 937-949. Open Access! Proactive Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Versus Conventional Management for Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Key finding:

  • On meta-analysis of 9 RCTs (8 RCTs in adults, and focusing on maintenance phase), there was no significant difference in the risk of failing to maintain clinical remission in patients who underwent proactive TDM (267/709; 38%) vs conventional management (292/696; 42%) (relative risk [RR], 0.96)

The discussion in this paper makes some important points, as there are some populations in which proactive TDM is more likely to be beneficial.


“The impact of proactive TDM in pediatric patients also merits further consideration. This concept may be particularly important in pediatrics due to the variability in size of patients, which may not be adequately addressed by weight-based dosing.33 This is especially important in younger children, where it has been shown that standard TNFα antagonist regimens and trough levels may not be applicable in this age group, and may require more frequent escalation of therapy.34,35 In the PAILOT trial, proactive TDM in children with clinical response to adalimumab was associated with higher rates of maintaining sustained corticosteroid-free clinical remission at all visits from week 8–72, compared with reactive TDM in which physicians were informed of trough concentration only after loss of response.”

Induction Dosing (Adults and Children):

“It is possible that the early measurement of biologic drug concentrations, to identify patients who may have accelerated clearance, and optimization of a subset of these patients early in the course of therapy may offer benefit.1,30 …Ongoing trials such as OPTIMIZE (NCT04835506) and TITRATE (NCT03937609) in which infliximab is optimized during the induction phase through a pharmacokinetic dashboard in patients with Crohn’s disease and acute severe ulcerative colitis will shed further light on this.”

My take: So far, studies in adults have not shown that proactive therapeutic drug monitoring has been effective in improving clinical outcomes. This may change particularly if studies focus on patients on monotherapy who are at increased risk of subtherapeutic levels. No matter what happens in adults, there is sufficient data showing that proactive therapeutic drug monitoring is essential in children. This is especially important as ‘routine” dosing of infliximab in children may be subtherapeutic in nearly 80%.

Related blog posts:

The Curtain or The Box: Therapeutic Dilemmas

X Roblin et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 720-727. Swapping Versus Dose Optimization in Patients Losing Response to Adalimumab With Adequate Drug Levels

Many times, treatment decisions are like on “Let’s Make a Deal.” That is, should I stick with what I’ve got or should I try for something better & sometimes wind up with a goat. In this referenced article, patients were under maintenance therapy with adalimumab (ADA) monotherapy (40 mg every 14 days) and had experienced a secondary loss of response (LOR) despite trough levels > 4.9 μg/mL. In this nonrandomized prospective study, patients were either swapped to vedolizumab (VDZ) or optimized on adalimumab (ADA) treatment.

Key findings:

  • At 24 months, 11 out of 70 patients (16%) in the swap group discontinued treatment compared with 36 out of 61 (59%) patients in the optimization group (P < 0.001)
  • In the optimization group, treatment discontinuation was positively associated with baseline fecal calprotectin >500 μg/g (HR, 3.5)
  • In patients selected for optimization, 56% (34/61) remained on ADA at 1 year and 41% (25/61) at 2 years

In their discussion, the authors state “current guidelines recommend switching to another class of biologics in case of LOR to ADA with therapeutic drug levels.” However, the authors note that their therapeutic level cut-off of >4.9 mcg/mL is lower than the latest recommendations. In addition, in their conclusion, they note that due to limited biologic options, “ADA optimization strategy might be considered” in a subgroup.

My take: Despite better results in the patients that swapped to VDZ in this study, I think it is important to assure adequate drug levels before choosing a new drug class. For ADA, expert recommendations have suggested a level of 8-12 as therapeutic and to avoid discontinuation if ADA level is less than 10. In this study, more than 40% remained on ADA two years after LOR in those with dosing optimization.

Related blog post:

Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Panoramic View -Sandia Mountain, NM

SERENE Study: Does a Higher Induction Dose of Adalimumab Help for Crohn’s Disease?

GR D’Haens et al. Gastroenterol 2022; DOI: Open Access: Higher vs Standard Adalimumab Induction Dosing Regimens and Two Maintenance Strategies: Randomized SERENE CD Trial Results

Methods: In this phase 3, randomized, double-blind, multicenter trial, eligible adults were randomized to higher induction regimen (adalimumab 160 mg at weeks 0, 1, 2, and 3; n = 308) or standard induction regimen (adalimumab 160 mg at week 0 and 80 mg at week 2; n = 206) followed by 40 mg every other week from week 4 onward. Endoscopic results were interpreted by a central reviewer.

Key Findings:

  • Similar proportions of patients receiving higher induction regimen and standard induction regimen achieved clinical remission at week 4 (44% in both; P = .939) and endoscopic response at week 12 (43% vs 39%, respectively, P = .462).
  • There was a high proportion of patients (>70%) who achieved corticosteroid-free clinical remission after an early corticosteroid taper beginning at week 4
  • Week 56 efficacy was similar between clinically-adjusted (CA) and therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM).  28% of patients in the CA group and 39% of TDM had their dose escalated.
  • Safety profiles were comparable between dosing regimens.

In the discussion, the authors wade into the topic of TDM for adalimumab:

Results from the exploratory SERENE CD study suggesting there is no clinical benefit of a proactive TDM strategy over a CA strategy for optimizing adalimumab maintenance dosing align with the results from previous studies evaluating TDM of anti–tumor necrosis factor therapies in adult patients with inflammatory bowel disease. In the TAXIT study, proactive TDM was not superior to CA dose optimization for achieving remission at 1 year in patients with CD or ulcerative colitis.24 Similarly, in the TAILORIX study of patients with CD, proactive TDM failed to improve clinical and endoscopic remission rates over a CA approach.25 In contrast, proactive TDM led to a higher clinical remission rate than did reactive TDM among pediatric patients with CD in the PAILOT trial, but this trial was nonblinded and lacked endoscopic assessments.26

My take: This study shows that standard induction performed as well as higher dose induction in adults with Crohn’s disease. Also, this study found that TDM did not improve response at 56 weeks in adults. Due to differences in body size and metabolism, the exact role for TDM in pediatric patients needs further study.

Related blog posts:

HIR =high dose induction regimen, SIR =standard induction regimen

Nonmedical Adalimumab Switches

G Tapete et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2022; 28: 62-69. Effectiveness and Safety of Nonmedical Switch From Adalimumab Originator to SB5 Biosimilar in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: Twelve-Month Follow-Up From the TABLET Registry

Methods: Prospective enrollment (n=146) included a ADA and those with a nonmedical switch from the ADA originator (n=98). Clinical remission and safety were assessed at baseline and at 3, 6, and 12 months

Key finding:

  • In the naïve cohort, the overall remission rate at 12 months was 60% (similar to originator adalimumab results); the remission rate in the switching cohort it was 75% with a treatment persistency of 82% at 12 months after the switch
  • No differences were found in terms of ADA serum trough levels at baseline, 3, and 6 months after switching. No patient developed antidrug antibodies after the switch
  • Fecal calprotectin (FC) values trended lower in both cohorts. In the naive cohort, the mean value of FC dropped from 665 (baseline) to 231 at 12 months. In the switch cohort, the mean value of FC dropped from 212 (baseline) to 84 at 12 months

My take: In this cohort, SB5 biosimilar for adalimumab was effective and safe.

Related blog posts:

Is Vedolizumab the Best First Line Biologic in Ulcerative Colitis?

D Lukin et al. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2022; 20: 126-135. Open Access: Comparative Safety and Effectiveness of Vedolizumab to Tumor Necrosis Factor Antagonist Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis

This multicenter, retrospective observational cohort study (2014-2017) studied the outcomes of 722 adults (n=454 vedolizumab (VDZ), n=268 TNF agents (165 IFX, 103 ADA). Key findings:

  • VDZ-treated patients were more likely to achieve clinical remission (hazard ratio [HR], 1.651; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.229-2.217), steroid-free clinical remission (HR, 1.828; 95% CI, 1.135-2.944), and steroid-free deep remission (HR, 2.819; 95% CI, 1.496-5.310) than those treated with TNF antagonists
  • Safety: Overall, there were no statistically significant differences in the risk of serious adverse events (HR, 0.899; 95% CI, 0.502-1.612) or serious infections (HR, 1.235; 95% CI, 0.608-2.511) between VDZ-treated and TNF-antagonist−treated patients.
  • In TNF-antagonist−naïve patients, VDZ was less likely to be associated with serious adverse events than TNF antagonists (HR, 0.192; 95% CI, 0.049-0.754). Thus, among UC patients with no prior TNF exposure, there was nearly an 80% reduction in any serious adverse event (this difference could be related, at least in part, to patient selection/disease severity)
  • In TNF-exposed patients, VDZ was associated with a significant increased risk for serious infections (HR, 4.295).

The authors note that the clinical remission results are similar to a previous head-to-head study of VDZ vs ADA in which VDZ had OR 1.568 for achieving clinical remission. It should be noted that the potential conflict of interest list of the 36 authors is extensive.

My take: This article supports VDZ as a first-line option for UC and strengthens the argument that it should be the first biologic for most patients with UC.

Related blog posts:

Siesta Key, FL

Disclaimer: This blog, gutsandgrowth, assumes no responsibility for any use or operation of any method, product, instruction, concept or idea contained in the material herein or for any injury or damage to persons or property (whether products liability, negligence or otherwise) resulting from such use or operation. These blog posts are for educational purposes only. Specific dosing of medications (along with potential adverse effects) should be confirmed by prescribing physician.  Because of rapid advances in the medical sciences, the gutsandgrowth blog cautions that independent verification should be made of diagnosis and drug dosages. The reader is solely responsible for the conduct of any suggested test or procedure.  This content is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a condition.

Ustekinumab vs Adalimumab: Head-to-Head Study

From Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News: Head-to-Head Trial Shows Similar Efficacy and Safety With Ustekinumab and Adalimumab

An excerpt:

The first head-to-head trial comparing ustekinumab and adalimumab has found the two drugs are similarly safe and effective in patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease

Dr. Scherl and her co-investigators in the SEAVUE trial randomly assigned 386 biologic-naive patients with Crohn’s disease to receive one year of treatment with either ustekinumab or adalimumab at standard on-label doses, with no dose escalation throughout the study period and no concomitant immunomodulators...

The findings, which were presented at the 2021 annual meeting of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (oral presentation OP02), showed that after one year of treatment, 65% of patients who received ustekinumab and 61% of those who received adalimumab achieved clinical remission, defined as a CDAI below 150...[And] similar additional outcomes, including clinical response at one year (72.3% for ustekinumab vs. 66.2% for adalimumab), corticosteroid-free remission at one year (60.7% vs. 57.4%, respectively), endoscopic remission at one year (28.5% vs. 30.7%) 

My take: This study indicates that ustekinumab likely has similar safety and efficacy as adalimumab (though the study did not allow dose escalation or immunomodulators); thus, it could be positioned as a first-line treatment. It is administered less frequently as well.

Related blog posts:

Vedolizumab vs Adalimumab: Histology Outcomes from Varsity Trial

L Peyrin-Biroulet et al. Gastroenterol 2021; Open Access DOI: Histologic Outcomes With Vedolizumab Versus Adalimumab in Ulcerative Colitis: Results From An Efficacy and Safety Study of Vedolizumab Intravenous Compared to Adalimumab Subcutaneous in Participants With Ulcerative Colitis (VARSITY)

In total, 769 patients received vedolizumab (n = 383) or adalimumab (n = 386). Geboes Index and Robarts Histopathology Index (RHI) scores were used to assess prespecified histologic exploratory end points of histologic remission (Geboes <2 or RHI ≤2) and minimal histologic disease activity (Geboes ≤3.1 or RHI ≤4) at weeks 14 and 52.

Key findings:

Vedolizumab induced greater histologic remission than adalimumab:

  • week 14: Geboes: 16.7% vs 7.3%, RHI: 25.6% vs 16.1%
  • week 52: Geboes: 29.2% vs 8.3%, RHI: 37.6% vs 19.9%
  • Histologic outcomes were generally better in anti–TNF-naïve vs -failure patients

My take: This study shows that histologic outcomes with vedolizumab, similar to clinical outcomes, were better than with adalimumab. Some of this difference could be due to the trail design which did not allow optimization of adalimumab dosing.

Related posts:

Better Levels –>Better Outcomes with Adalimumab

More data is accumulating that show that higher levels of adalimumab are associated with better outcomes: F Rinawi et al. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2021; 27 1079-1087. Association of Early Postinduction Adalimumab Exposure With Subsequent Clinical and Biomarker Remission in Children with Crohn’s Disease. This pediatric study included 65 patients with Crohn’s disease; the author’s note that children weighing less than 40 kg frequently received higher dosing than on-label ADA dosing.

Key findings:

  • Adalimumab trough levels (TLs) at both weeks 4 and 8 were significantly higher in remitters vs nonremitters at week 24 (P < 0.001 and P = 0.002, respectively)
  • The best ADA TL cutoffs at weeks 4 and 8 for predicting clinical/biomarker remission at week 24 were 22.5 µg/mL (80% sensitivity, 90% specificity) and 12.5 µg/mL (94% sensitivity, 60% specificity) respectively

My take (borrowed from authors): Greater early ADA exposure is associated with superior clinical/biomarker outcomes at week 24. ADA pediatric dosing is looking a lot like infliximab dosing in which nearly 75% would be underdosed if using on-label dosing.

Related blog post:

From Illuminarium Show Wild