Drugmakers Including Novartis AG Gear Up to Copy Biotech Drugs in U.S.

Published: May 12, 2011

Plenty of industry players want a piece of the U.S. market for generic versions of complex biotech drugs, but winners are likely to need the marketing muscle of a big pharmaceutical company. That is a departure from the traditional generic drug industry, which has given rise to dozens of companies that profit as they churn out copies of big brand name medicines made from chemicals. Biotech drugs are manufactured in living cells, using far more complex processes and carrying much higher prices, often in the tens of thousands of dollars. To "copy" such treatments actually means creating a new but highly similar molecule, requiring far more expertise.

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