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A new category of medicine expands on the benefits of biologic medicines, and the results could be transformative for the health care system.

Biologic medicines come in different forms, such as monoclonal antibodies and growth factors. Their capacity to precisely target signaling pathways and cells is revolutionizing the battle against difficult-to-treat diseases, including cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

A biosimilar medicine is highly similar to an approved biologic product, also known as a reference product, which is why it’s known as a “biosimilar.”

Biosimilars are approved by the FDA based on data that shows they have no clinically meaningful differences in safety, efficacy, or purity compared to that reference biologic. They could help transform the treatment of difficult-to-treat diseases by helping health care systems manage them more cost-effectively.

By providing options that can be more affordable for health care systems, biosimilar medicines can allow for the reallocation of resources to other areas of patient care, while still delivering similar quality, efficacy, and safety as the originator biologic. This is why the pharmaceutical industry is turning its attention to bringing more biosimilars into the health care landscape.

Learn more about the potential for biosimilars in this Original piece on The Atlantic.