Róbert Wessman discusses Alvotech

Alvotech building

Alvotech aims to launch a new biotechnology generic drug within two years. Róbert Wessman, founder and Chairman of Alvotech, says that the company's export revenue will contribute considerably to Iceland's GDP within a few years.

In an interview on the TV current affairs program Kastljos (Spotlight) which aired on the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service (RÚV) on 10 February 2021, Róbert Wessman discussed Alvotech's prospects and significance in the Icelandic economy.

Róbert said that Alvotech's vision, which was formulated in 2012, was founded on the fact that from 2020, all the highest selling drugs in the world will be biotech drugs and that Alvotech will produce their biosimilars when the originator products patent has expired. This means Alvotech will be able to create more cost-effective treatments which in turn will allow better access to medicine for patients around the world.

The downside to the originator products is that they cost a lot more than other medicines and cannot be afforded by everyone. In the United States an anti-rheumatic treatment can, for example, cost a person somewhere between US$ 50-100,000 a year.

First to get a license to produce the best-selling drug in the world Alvotech is the first biosimilars company to submit a biosimilar for the biotech rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira, for registration in the United States. It is the best-selling drug in the world, with sales in the United States of US$ 15-16 billion a year. Alvotech has also secured a long-term collaboration agreement with various pharmaceutical companies around the world, e.g. in Asia, Australia, the United States and Europe. "So, when we're done producing, the drug goes on the market everywhere."

The drug will be produced in the company's new facility in Reykjavik. He says that if things go as planned, Alvotech's production could become one of the key pillars of Icelandic foreign exchange earnings by 2026-27.