Novartis reveals the data behind its showdown with Gilead

pharmafile | November 1, 2017 | News story | Research and Development CAR-T, Gilead, Kymriah, Novartis, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

Only yesterday it was revealed that Novartis had applied to the FDA in the same indication that Gilead’s treatment is approved in, today it revealed the data behind this decision to encroach on its rival’s turf.

Novartis revealed at the ASH annual meeting that 32% of the 81 patients treated had achieved a complete response rate for treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). It also revealed that a further 6% achieved a partial response rate.

It also announced that at the six month market, complete response came in at 30%. This pegs Novartis’ treatment fairly even with Kite’s, which had achieved a 31% complete response at six months, in a similarly small pool of patients.

The release of the data and equivalency to Gilead’s treatment should set Novartis up for approval, meaning that the two treatments would be on the market within a short space of time of one another. This could see their different method of pricing butt heads much quicker than expected; Novartis treatment costs $475,000 but will offer a rebate if patients do not respond to treatment after a month while Gilead’s treatment is offered at a flat rate of $373,000.

If both treatments are offering similar efficacy, it will be interesting to see which pricing model is preferred; with two in three patients not seeing a response, it looks likely that the cost effective treatment would be Novartis’ but Gilead would be forced to react to such a situation.

The positive aspect to the news it that no cases of cytokine storms were reported in Novartis’ data, with the most common side effects being infection and cytopenia.

Novartis revealed that it plans to apply for European approvals for Kymriah this year.

Ben Hargreaves

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