There is a lot of commentary out there in the blogosphere today on Seattle Genetics' just days-ago, FDA- approved, new drug Adcetris and its pricing. Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) is approved to treat Hodgkin's lymphoma and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). The drug targets CD30 in those patients cells that exhibit this marker. The overexpression of the marker can be determined readily by a simple diagnostic test to indicate whether the patient is a good candidate or not for the treatment.
In clinicals, 73% of patients of these selected Hodgkin's patients had significant tumor shrinkage and 86% of the similar selected ALCL patients showed tumor shrinkage. And, about 1/3 of the Hodgkin's patients and 1/2 of the ALCL patients went into remission.
Given that, and given this is the first new treatment for Hodgkin's since 1977, and the first treatment ever for ALCL, will the price of $13,500 per dose or on average $108,000 per course hold up? Most commentators seemed to think this drug actually justifies its price given the serious disease it is treating, and the patient benefit that it is providing -- especially for patients in the prime of life (30-45 age range). But the volume of commentary underlines the scrutiny new cancer treatments and their pricing receive now. It also underscores the need to show a good cost vs patient benefit profile to separate the Dendreon Provenge from the Seattle Genetics Adcetris.
Seattle Genetics' CEO said it best, "We want to make sure we price this drug so that we can maximize the impact on patients, and maximize the effect for the company as well. What we are excited about doing is making sure we can treat as many patients as possible, and also do well for our shareholders."
Posted by Bruce Lehr Aug 22nd 2011.