J Neurol Sci. 2015 Dec 15;359(1-2):24-34.
Glatiramer acetate (GA) has been available under the brand name Copaxone® for nearly two decades. Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first generic GA, Glatopa™, as fully substitutable for all indications for which Copaxone 20mg is approved; Glatopa also represents the first FDA-approved "AP-rated," substitutable generic for treating patients with MS. Glatiramer acetate is a complex mixture of polypeptides and, consequently, its characterization presented challenges not generally encountered in drug development. Despite its complexity, and without requiring any clinical data, approval was accomplished through an Abbreviated New Drug Application in which equivalence to Copaxone was evaluated across four criteria: starting materials and basic chemistry; structural signatures for polymerization, depolymerization, and purification; physicochemical properties; and biological and immunological properties. This article describes the rigorous overall scientific approach used to successfully establish equivalence between Glatopa and Copaxone, and presents key representative data from several of the comprehensive sets of physicochemical (structural) and biological (functional) assays that were conducted.
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