This new drug is approved to treat the same types of cancer as Herceptin because the FDA determined that Ontruzant is a biosimilar medication to Herceptin.
According to the FDA, a biosimilar is a biological product that is highly similar to a biological product that has already been approved. Medications are approved as biosimilars when they are highly similar to existing medications in terms of purity, effectiveness and safety. The original product is known as a reference product. In this case, the reference product is Herceptin (trastuzumab).
This new biosimilar was first approved in Europe. Trastuzumab-dttb was approved to treat advanced HER2-positive breast cancer and HER2-overexpressing stomach cancer. It was also approved to be given in combination with other medications to treat early breast cancer (HER2).
This new medication is available as an injection to be administered into the vein by a health care provider.
Trastuzumab-dttb holds a boxed warning regarding the following issues: risks to unborn babies if given during pregnancy, heart and lung problems and issues when the medication is injected.
In the US, Ontruzant will be commercialized by Merck.
Written By Anyssa Garza, PharmD, BCMAS