Boehringer Testing Copy of Rituxan in Type of Lymphoma

Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH started testing a version of Roche Holding AG’s top-selling drug Rituxan for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, broadening the possible uses the German company sees for its copy of the medicine.

Boehringer is already recruiting patients in another trial of the drug in rheumatoid arthritis and adding an indication in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a type of cancer, may help increase sales, Asthika Goonewardene, a London-based analyst for Bloomberg Industries, said in a note to clients today.

“Boehringer’s efficient clinical program may generate the data required to file for regulatory approval in both the U.S. and EU for the two key indications which account for more than 90 percent of Rituxan sales,” Goonewardene wrote.

Boehringer is seeking to enter a crowded field of potential competitors. Novartis AG, Celltrion Inc., partners Samsung Electronics Co. and Quintiles Transnational Corp., and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. with Lonza Group AG are among the companies already working on a Rituxan copy. Some of the companies have had setbacks in developing a Rituxan copy, Goonewardene wrote.