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Biocon launches BIOMAb-EGFR for head and neck cancer

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Sep 17: Bollywood Star Sha Rukh Khan today released BIOMAb-EGFR, a therapeutic monoclonal antibody based drug hailed as the 'magic bullets' for treatment of head and neck Cancer, developed by the Biocon Limited, country's premier Biotechnology Company.

Speaking after the launch, Sha Rukh Khan, who lost his parents due to Cancer, expressed concern over 3 million people being added every year to the dreaded disease in India.

He said the advancement made in the field of science was made possible to fight against Cancer thanks to relentless efforts of those involved in inventing drugs. He recalled that when his father was suffering from Cancer the drugs which were made available in the 90's were too cost prohibitive and not so potent in containing the Cancer. He also called upon the people to create awareness against the disease which is taking toll of major chunk of the population.

Biocon Chairperson and Managing Director Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, speaking on the occasion, said that with the launch of BIOMAb EGFR, the innovative and cutting edge cancer drugs, the BIO has joined the exclusive league of monoclonal antibody developers worldwide.

She said that while therapeutic monoclonal antibodies have been introduced in the country, they are beyond the reach of a majority of cancer patients because of their prohibitive cost. The price of BIOMAb EGFR was 40 per cent less than the similar drug available in the country.

Dr Shaw appealed to the Karnataka Government to exempt the drug BIOMAb EGFR from local tax as it comes under the category of life saving drugs. Other States in the country extending tax exemption to those drugs manufactured by the Multi National Companies and marketed in the country, she added.

Outlining the effectiveness of the BIOMAb-EGFR, Dr Shaw said that immunotherapeutics was a new class of drugs that effectively address unmet needs, particularly in oncology and autoimmunue diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriasis and Lupus. Immunotherapy was the most recent form of treating such diseases wherein use of antibodies and vaccines play a key role in disease management.

She said that the BIOMAb-EGFR targets the human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) a type of protein found on the surface of both normal and cancer cells. Small proteins circulating in the blood called Epidermal Growth Factors, bind with the EGFR. The binding action stimulates certain biological processes within the cell to promote cell growth in a controlled manner. however in many cancer cells EGFR was over produced leading to their uncontrolled and abnormal growth. This pivotal role of EGFR in malignant cell formation has prompted the development of biological agents, such as BIOMAb-EGFR that disrupts and inhibits the EGFR signaling process.

Dr Shaw said that BIOMAb-EGFR has passed through successfully all the process of trials including human and will be made available to the Indian market. It was also launched simultaneously in Cuba which is the research partner with BIOCON, she added.

Dr Shaw also expressed happy that with the joint efforts of two biotech companies of the Developing countries a powerful drug against the cancer was released and announced that there were many such ventures in the pipeline in the days to come.

Dr Shaw said that BIOMAb-EGFR, besides proving itself an effective drug against the Cancer, also more potent using it in combination with the radiation therapy and chemotherapy in patients with positive expression of EGFR in squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck cancer.

In clinical trials BIOMAb-EGFR showed extensive proliferation inhibition activity in non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, parcreatic cancer and glioblastoma, she added.

Dr Shaw said that the incidence of cancer was alarmingly high in India and approximately 100 per one lakh population and the highest rates of head and neck Cancers are reported in South Asian countries including India and Sri Lanka. The Indian Sub-continent accounts for one third of the world burden of head and neck cancers. Smoking and chewing of tobacco in combination with excessive consumption of alcohol are the most important risk factors, she added.

The Present global market size of monoclonal antibodies was estimated at 15 billion USD and was expected to double by 2010, she said adding that the dreaded disease Cancer has become one of the most significant causes of morbidity and mortality in the world and recently it overtook heart disease as the main cause for death of most of the Americans. With more than 10 million new cases occurring globally each year it was a major public health issue and represents a significant burden of disease. With the sharp increase in new cancer cases largely due to the ageing population and lifestyle trends with an estimated 15 million cases were predicted in 2020.


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