Cell and Gene Therapies

News Briefs: CMS’s Cell and Gene Therapy Model Will First Focus on Sickle Cell Disease

CMS’s Cell and Gene Therapy Access Model’s first focus will be on therapies for sickle cell disease, the agency said Jan. 30. The administration unveiled the model almost one year ago as one of three new models for testing by CMS’s Innovation Center to lower the cost of drugs and increase access to new treatments. The model will implement outcomes-based agreements (OBAs) for cell and gene therapies to treat sickle cell disease beginning in 2025 “and may be expanded to other types of CGTs in the future.” The administration estimates that about half of people with sickle cell disease are enrolled in Medicaid, with health care services costing about $3 billion annually. Through the model, CMS will negotiate OBAs, and states can decide whether to enter into the arrangements. “CMS will negotiate financial and clinical outcome measures with drug manufacturers and then reconcile data, monitor results, and evaluate outcomes. The CGT Access Model will begin in January 2025, and states may choose to begin participation at a time of their choosing between January 2025 and January 2026.”

0 Comments

Cell and Gene Therapies, Biosimilars, Medical Benefit Drugs Are Areas to Watch Moving Forward

While the FDA approved a large number of specialty drugs in 2023, payers shouldn’t let their attention wander in 2024. Multiple potential blockbusters are slated for decisions by the agency this year, as are several biosimilars and generic versions of specialty medications. Gene therapies will continue to garner headlines — and payer dollars. All of these trends and more point to an active year ahead within the specialty pharmacy space. AIS Health, a division of MMIT, spoke with some industry experts about what’s on board.

AIS Health: What are some specialty pharmacy issues to keep an eye on in 2024, and why?

0 Comments

Number of FDA Approvals Increased in 2023, With Notable Agents Including Cell and Gene Therapies

In 2023, the FDA continued to rebound from a drop in approvals, marking the highest number in years. The agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approved 55 novel drugs last year, and its Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) approved 17 agents. That’s up from 37 CDER-approved therapies in 2022 and 51 in 2011. In 2022, CBER OK’d 13 agents, up from 10 in 2021. Specialty agents, such as cell and gene therapies, continued to make up a large portion of those new approvals, while the FDA approved several biosimilars, including a handful that were the first versions of their reference drugs. AIS Health, a division of MMIT, spoke with industry experts about what they view as the most notable FDA approvals of 2023.

0 Comments

2023 Notable FDA Approvals Include Several Cell and Gene Therapies, First-Time Biosimilars

This past year, the FDA continued to rebound from a drop in approvals, marking the highest number in years. The agency’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) approved 55 novel drugs last year, and its Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) approved 17 agents. That’s up from 37 CDER-approved therapies in 2022 and 51 in 2011. In 2022, CBER OK’d 13 agents, up from 10 in 2021. Specialty agents, such as cell and gene therapies, continued to make up a large portion of those new approvals, while the FDA approved several biosimilars, including a handful that were the first versions of their reference drugs. AIS Health, a division of MMIT, spoke with industry experts about what they view as the most notable FDA approvals of 2023.

0 Comments

Payers Turn to Various Management Strategies for Cell and Gene Therapies

In December, the FDA approved the two newest cell and gene therapies, which were the first such agents approved for the treatment of sickle cell disease. As more of these products launch onto the U.S. market — the agency previously predicted that it would be approving 10 to 20 of the treatments by 2025 — payers are taking a variety of approaches to managing the therapies. Cost remains the main obstacle to their use, but their long-term durability also remains a question to some extent.

Dec. 8 saw the newest approvals, both for the treatment of sickle cell disease in people at least 12 years old: bluebird bio, Inc’s Lyfgenia (lovotibeglogene autotemcel; lovo-cel) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and CRISPR Therapeutics’ Casgevy (exagamglogene autotemcel; exa-cel). The latter agent is the first CRISPR/Cas9 genome-edited cell therapy that the FDA has approved. The FDA gave both applications priority review, orphan drug, fast track and regenerative medicine advanced therapy designations. It also gave Lyfgenia rare pediatric disease designation.

0 Comments

Payers Report Taking Varied Steps to Manage Cell and Gene Therapies

The FDA recently approved the two newest cell and gene therapies, with one of them earning the distinction of being the first of its kind approved by the FDA. As more of these products launch onto the U.S. market — the agency previously predicted that it would be approving 10 to 20 of the treatments by 2025 — payers are taking a variety of approaches to managing the therapies.

Dec. 8 saw the newest approvals, both for the treatment of sickle cell disease in people at least 12 years old: bluebird bio, Inc’s Lyfgenia (lovotibeglogene autotemcel; lovo-cel) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and CRISPR Therapeutics’ Casgevy (exagamglogene autotemcel; exa-cel). The latter agent is the first CRISPR/Cas9 genome-edited cell therapy that the FDA has approved. The one-time treatments come with hefty price tags: Lyfgenia is priced at $3.1 million and Casgevy at $2.2 million.

0 Comments

Bluebird, Vertex Gene Therapies May Answer $1m Question: Can Competition Reduce Rx Prices?

The US Food and Drug Administration’s simultaneous approval of two gene therapies for sickle cell disease from Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated/CRISPR Therapeutics AG and bluebird bio on 8 December provides the competitors an equal start out of the gate, and offers another test for the Rx policy concept that intra-class competition can drive down prices.

Based on the initial list prices, though, it seems like perhaps competition cannot do that, at least not in this case, or at least not yet. Bluebird bio’s Lyfgenia has a wholesale acquisition cost of $3.1m, while the WAC for Vertex and CRISPR’s Casgevy is $2.2m, which might be a significant handicap for bluebird in securing reimbursement.

0 Comments

Questions Remain Regarding Access for Newly Approved Sickle Cell Treatments

The recent approvals of the first two gene therapies for sickle cell disease represent potential major breakthroughs for patients who have faced significant burdens associated with the condition. However, there are still questions about how and whether payers will cover the high-cost treatments and how many patients will be open to taking the new treatments.

The FDA on Dec. 8 approved Casgevy (exagamglogene autotemcel) from CRISPR Therapeutics and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Lyfgenia (lovotibeglogene autotemcel) from bluebird, Inc. for patients who are 12 or older and have recurrent vaso-occlusive events (VOEs), the term for severe pain and organ damage. The agency noted about 100,000 people in the U.S. have sickle cell disease and that VOEs “can lead to life-threatening disabilities and/or early death.”

0 Comments

Report: One-Quarter of Respondents Are Considering Carving Out Specialty Drugs From Their PBM

As the PBM and specialty pharmacy worlds have become more integrated, PBMs now are providing more specialty management services than they previously did. Only 15% of respondents to a recent survey said they carve out specialty drugs from the PBM that is providing their pharmacy benefit management, while 26% said they were considering taking this step, according to the 2023 Pharmacy Benefit Manager Customer Satisfaction Report from Pharmaceutical Strategies Group (PSG), an EPIC company.

The 85% of respondents whose PBMs provide both specialty and traditional pharmacy benefit management ranked formulary management of specialty drugs and financial reporting in the pharmacy benefit as the services they were most satisfied with, while they were least satisfied with management of specialty agents in the medical benefit and offering competitive discounts on specialty medications.

0 Comments

AscellaHealth Assesses New, Anticipated Specialty Treatments

The specialty drug landscape continues to be a dynamic space, as new agents enter the market and existing ones gain FDA approval for additional indications. Global health care and specialty pharmacy solutions organization AscellaHealth recently released its quarterly breakdown of insights into treatments within the segment.

The Q3 2023 Specialty & Rare Pipeline Digest examines new approvals and launches of specialty drugs, including biosimilars, generics, and cell and gene therapies, as well as ones in the pipeline.

0 Comments