Home Pharma Science & Research FDA Grants Coherus’ CIMERLITM (Ranibizumab-eqrn) 12 Months of Interchangeability Exclusivity as the First and Only Interchangeable Biosimilar to Lucentis® for all Five Indications.

FDA Grants Coherus’ CIMERLITM (Ranibizumab-eqrn) 12 Months of Interchangeability Exclusivity as the First and Only Interchangeable Biosimilar to Lucentis® for all Five Indications.

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Synopsis :

  • CIMERLI™ is Coherus’ third FDA-approved product and the first of four new product launches planned by the end of 2023 
  • First CIMERLI™ product sales expected in October 2022 
  • COLUMBUS AMD trial was published in the journal Ophthalmology and demonstrated the clinical equivalence of CIMERLI™ to Lucentis® with a comparable safety and immunogenicity profile.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved CIMERLITM (ranibizumab-eqrn) as a biosimilar product interchangeable with Lucentis® (ranibizumab injection) for all five indications, according to a recent announcement from Coherus BioSciences Inc. (Coherus or Coherus BioSciences, Nasdaq: CHRS). This product satisfies all of the FDA’s strict requirements for the reference product 1 The anti-VEGF therapy family of biologics, which includes CIMERLITM, has proved innovative in aiding retinal patients in preserving or restoring eyesight.

“CIMERLI™, the only biosimilar product interchangeable with Lucentis® across all five indications, will provide both greater treatment access and choice for patients, payors and providers in the U.S. retinal disease community,” said Paul Reider, Chief Commercial Officer of Coherus BioSciences. “Coherus is the only company in the $7 billion anti-VEGF ophthalmology market with a demonstrated track record of U.S. commercial biosimilar success. We intend to replicate our UDENYCA® achievements with a dedicated retina commercial team eager to leverage their experience and in-depth market understanding to drive CIMERLI™ share.”


Description: Cimerli (ranibizumab-eqrn) is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor, interchangeable biosimilar to Lucentis indicated for the treatment of neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration (AMD), macular edema following retinal vein occlusion (RVO), diabetic macular edema (DME), diabetic retinopathy (DR), and myopic choroidal neovascularization (mCNV).

  • Cimerli is the second approved biosimilar to Lucentis (ranibizumab) after Byooviz (ranibizumab-nuna), but is the first interchangeable biosimilar. Interchangeable biosimilar means it may be substituted for the reference product at the pharmacy without consulting the prescriber, subject to state law.
  • The FDA approval of Cimerli was based on a review of safety and efficacy data that demonstrated Cimerli is biosimilar to Lucentis.
  • API – Ranibizumab-eqrn
  • FDA Approved: Yes (First approved August 2, 2022)
    Brand name: Cimerli
    Generic name: ranibizumab-eqrn
    Dosage form: Intravitreal Injection
    Company: Coherus BioSciences, Inc.
  • Class: Eye disorder therapies; Immunoglobulin fragments; Monoclonal antibodies
  • Mechanism of Action: Vascular endothelial growth factor A inhibitors
  • Orphan Drug Status: No

“Retinal disease is a significant public health issue with certain conditions leading to vision loss or impairment. As a practitioner committed to the safety and well-being of patients, having an approved biosimilar product that is interchangeable with Lucentis—with a similar safety and efficacy profile—is great news for patients,” said Dr. Peter K. Kaiser, Professor of Ophthalmology at the Cole Eye Institute/Cleveland Clinic, and an advisor to Coherus. “Ocular anti-VEGF agents have enabled many people with retinal disease to retain and even gain vision. I am pleased to have an additional treatment option for my patients.”

Denny Lanfear, CEO of Coherus BioSciences added, “The approval of CIMERLI™ and its upcoming launch represent a strategic inflection point for Coherus as we transition to a multi-product revenue stream. UDENYCA®, our first product, established our track record of success competing in the U.S. biosimilars market. Our upcoming launch of CIMERLI™ and planned launch next year of our third approved product, our Humira® biosimilar, YUSIMRY™, will leverage this experience and knowledge. For Coherus, this portfolio is also our source of internally generated capital as we build a leading innovative oncology franchise that will drive our future growth.”

About interchangeability designation and 12-month exclusivity3
An interchangeable biosimilar product is a biosimilar that meets additional requirements outlined by the law that allows for the FDA to approve biosimilar and interchangeable biosimilar medications. An interchangeable biosimilar product may be substituted without the intervention of the health care professional who prescribed the reference product, much like how generic drugs are routinely substituted for brand name drugs. This is commonly called pharmacy-level substitution and is subject to state pharmacy laws. A health care provider also can prescribe an interchangeable biosimilar product just like they would prescribe a biosimilar or a reference product. Because of the FDA’s high standards for approval, health care providers and patients can be confident in the safety and effectiveness of a biosimilar or an interchangeable biosimilar product, just as they would be for the FDA-approved original product.

The first biosimilar with interchangeability status compared to its reference product is entitled to one-year of exclusivity of the interchangeability designation, from the time of first commercial marketing.


CIMERLI™ (ranibizumab-eqrn) is interchangeable* to Lucentis® (ranibizumab injection)

CIMERLI™ (ranibizumab-eqrn), a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor, is indicated for the treatment of patients with:

  • Neovascular (Wet) Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
  • Macular Edema Following Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO)
  • Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)
  • Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)
  • Myopic Choroidal Neovascularization (mCNV)


  • Endophthalmitis and Retinal Detachments: Intravitreal injections, including those with ranibizumab products, have been associated with endophthalmitis and retinal detachments. Proper aseptic injection technique should always be utilized when administering CIMERLI™. Patients should be monitored following the injection to permit early treatment, should an infection occur
  • Increases in Intraocular Pressure: Increases in intraocular pressure (IOP) have been noted both pre-injection and post-injection (at 60 minutes) with ranibizumab products. Monitor intraocular pressure prior to and following intravitreal injection with CIMERLI™ and manage appropriately
  • Thromboembolic Events: Although there was a low rate of arterial thromboembolic events (ATEs) observed in the ranibizumab clinical trials, there is a potential risk of ATEs following intravitreal use of VEGF inhibitors. ATEs are defined as nonfatal stroke, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or vascular death (including deaths of unknown cause)

Neovascular (wet) age-related macular degeneration

  • The ATE rate in the 3 controlled neovascular AMD studies during the first year was 1.9% (17 of 874) in the combined group of patients treated with 0.3 mg or 0.5 mg ranibizumab compared with 1.1% (5 of 441) in patients from the control arms. In the second year of Studies AMD-1 and AMD-2, the ATE rate was 2.6% (19 of 721) in the combined group of ranibizumab-treated patients compared with 2.9% (10 of 344) in patients from the control arms. In Study AMD-4, the ATE rates observed in the 0.5 mg arms during the first and second year were similar to rates observed in Studies AMD-1, AMD-2, and AMD-3
  • In a pooled analysis of 2-year controlled studies (AMD-1, AMD-2, and a study of ranibizumab used adjunctively with verteporfin photodynamic therapy), the stroke rate (including both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke) was 2.7% (13 of 484) in patients treated with 0.5 mg ranibizumab compared to 1.1% (5 of 435) in patients in the control arms (odds ratio 2.2 [95% confidence interval (0.8-7.1)])

    Macular edema following retinal vein occlusion

    • The ATE rate in the 2 controlled RVO studies during the first 6 months was 0.8% in both the ranibizumab and control arms of the studies (4 of 525 in the combined group of patients treated with 0.3 mg or 0.5 mg ranibizumab and 2 of 260 in the control arms). The stroke rate was 0.2% (1 of 525) in the combined group of ranibizumab-treated patients compared to 0.4% (1 of 260) in the control arms
    • Diabetic macular edema and Diabetic Retinopathy

      • In a pooled analysis of Studies D-1 and D-2, the ATE rate at 2 years was 7.2% (18 of 250) with 0.5 mg ranibizumab, 5.6% (14 of 250) with 0.3 mg ranibizumab, and 5.2% (13 of 250) with control. The stroke rate at 2 years was 3.2% (8 of 250) with 0.5 mg ranibizumab, 1.2% (3 of 250) with 0.3 mg ranibizumab, and 1.6% (4 of 250) with control. At 3 years, the ATE rate was 10.4% (26 of 249) with 0.5 mg ranibizumab and 10.8% (27 of 250) with 0.3 mg ranibizumab; the stroke rate was 4.8% (12 of 249) with 0.5 mg ranibizumab and 2.0% (5 of 250) with 0.3 mg ranibizumab

    About Coherus BioSciences

    Coherus is a commercial stage biopharmaceutical company building a leading oncology franchise funded with cash generated by its commercial biosimilar business. In 2021, Coherus in-licensed toripalimab, an anti-PD-1 antibody, in the United States and Canada. A biologics license application for toripalimab for the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma is under review by the FDA with a target action date of December 23, 2022. Coherus markets UDENYCA® (pegfilgrastim-cbqv), a biosimilar of Neulasta® in the U.S., and expects to launch CIMERLI™ (ranibizumab-eqrn) in the U.S. in October 2022, as well as the FDA-approved Humira® biosimilar YUSIMRY™ (adalimumab-aqvh) in the U.S. in 2023.

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