Rare Diseases/Orphan Drugs

New FDA Approvals: FDA Expanded Almirall’s Klisyri Treatment Area

June 7: The FDA expanded the treatment area of Almirall, LLC’s Klisyri (tirbanibulin) from up to 25 cm2 of the face or scalp to up to 100 cm2 for the treatment of adults with actinic keratosis. The agency first approved the microtubule inhibitor on Dec. 14, 2020. Dosing is one unit-dose packet on the face or scalp once daily for five consecutive days. Drugs.com lists the price of five packets of the ointment as more than $1,179.

June 10: The FDA gave another indication to Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s Kevzara (sarilumab) for the treatment of people weighing at least 63 kg with active polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The agency initially approved the interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist on May 22, 2017. The recommended dose is 200 mg via subcutaneous injection every two weeks. Drugs.com lists the price of both the 150 mg/1.14 mL and 200 mg/1.14 mL as more than $4,582.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

FDA Moves Bring Total Biosimilar Approvals to 54

With the FDA’s approval of three biosimilars in May, that brings the total number of these drugs to 53 since the agency’s green lighting of Sandoz’s Zarxio (filgrastim-sndz) on March 6, 2015. With all three agents also gaining interchangeability status, that brings the count to 13 biosimilars with this designation. Payer and provider respondents to a Zitter Insights survey said they expect to see increased use in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ophthalmic biosimilars, among others, this year, while oncologists cited agents for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as the area in which they expected to see the most increase.

On May 20, the FDA approved the first biosimilars of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s Eylea (aflibercept): Biocon Ltd. subsidiary Biocon Biologics Ltd.’s Yesafili (aflibercept-jbvf) and Samsung Bioepis Co., Ltd. and Biogen Inc.’s Opuviz (aflibercept-yszy).

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

New FDA Approvals: FDA Expanded Mircera’s Patient Population

April 30: The FDA expanded the patient population of CSL Vifor’s Mircera (methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta) to include the treatment of anemia associated with chronic kidney disease in pediatric patients 3 months old to 17 years old on dialysis and not on dialysis who are converting from another erythropoiesis-stimulating agent after their hemoglobin level was stabilized with an ESA. The agency also approved a subcutaneous route of administration for pediatric patients. The FDA first approved the long-acting ESA on Nov. 14, 2007. Dosing for the newest use is once every four weeks based on total weekly epoetin alfa or darbepoetin alfa dose at the time of conversion. The agent is available in both intravenous and subcutaneous formulations, and patients younger than 6 years old should maintain the same route of administration as the previous ESA. Drugs.com lists the price of one 75 mcg/0.3 mL injectable solution as more than $237.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

How Will Beqvez Fare in Challenging Market for Cell and Gene Therapies?

The FDA recently approved the second gene therapy for hemophilia B, Pfizer Inc.’s Beqvez (fidanacogene elaparvovec-dzkt). While the agent offers an additional treatment option with the potential for freedom from regular infusions of factor therapy, its price — which is equal to that of its competitor — may be too high for many payers, according to a Zitter Insights survey. Industry experts say that it may suffer from some of the challenges other cell and gene therapies have faced in gaining a foothold in the U.S. market.

On April 25, the FDA approved Beqvez for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe hemophilia B who use factor IX (FIX) prophylaxis therapy; have current or historical life-threatening hemorrhage; or have repeated, serious spontaneous bleeding episodes and do not have neutralizing antibodies to adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype Rh74var (AAVRh74var) capsid as detected by an FDA-approved test. The manufacturer launched a warranty program for the intravenous infusion based on durability of patient response to treatment.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

Cell and Gene Therapies Pose Multiple Challenges but No Easy Solutions

While health care payers are facing a variety of issues, paying for multimillion-dollar cell and gene therapies (CGTs) is one of the most pressing, as evidenced by sessions at two recent AHIP conferences. Multiple speakers discussed various approaches to the agents, as well as challenges payers need to tackle, but all acknowledged that a truly successful model has yet to be implemented.

Many CGTs are in the pipeline, impacting potentially millions of patients and prompting many questions around affordability and accessibility, stated Sean Dickson, senior vice president of pharmaceutical policy at AHIP, during a session in Baltimore titled “Cell and Gene Therapies: Regulatory Updates and Coverage Policies.” “Oncology is where it will get really interesting,” and these agents will have the greatest impact on Medicare payers.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

FDA Approves Another Hemophilia Gene Therapy, but Will Price Prove to Be Too High?

The FDA recently approved the second gene therapy for hemophilia B, Pfizer Inc.’s Beqvez (fidanacogene elaparvovec-dzkt). But while the manufacturer priced the agent at parity to the other treatment, that price may still be too high for many payers, according to a Zitter Insights survey.

On April 25, the FDA approved Beqvez for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe hemophilia B who use factor IX prophylaxis therapy; have current or historical life-threatening hemorrhage; or have repeated, serious spontaneous bleeding episodes and do not have neutralizing antibodies to adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype Rh74var (AAVRh74var) capsid as detected by an FDA-approved test. The manufacturer launched a warranty program for the intravenous infusion based on durability of patient response to treatment.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

Established TKI Gains New Indication to Treat Aggressive Cancer

After first gaining approval more than a decade ago, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.’s Iclusig (ponatinib) recently gained approval for the frontline treatment of an aggressive blood cancer. One clinical trial found that people on the agent experienced complete remission more than twice as often as those on a comparator therapy. Industry sources point to the drug’s clinical efficacy as a significant development in the treatment of the disease.

On March 19, the FDA gave accelerated approval to Iclusig in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of adults with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL). The newest application had priority review and orphan drug designation, and its review used the Real-Time Oncology Review and the Assessment Aid.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

One Repatha Presentation Will Be Discontinued Next Month, Another in 2025

Amgen Inc. will discontinue the Repatha (evolocumab) Pushtronex system, an on-body infusor, on June 30, the company said April 12. Certain patients, however, may need to remain on that system, and the manufacturer says it will maintain inventory of it to meet their needs.

In addition to the 420 mg/3.5 mL single-dose Pushtronex, Repatha is available as a 140 mg/mL single-dose SureClick autoinjector and a 140 mg/mL single-dose prefilled syringe. The company is urging users to transition to the SureClick because it plans to discontinue the prefilled syringe in mid-2025.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

New FDA Approvals: FDA Approves AstraZeneca’s Voydeya

March 29: The FDA approved Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease’s, Voydeya (danicopan) as an add-on therapy to ravulizumab (currently available as the company’s Ultomiris) or eculizumab (currently available as the company’s Soliris) for the treatment of extravascular hemolysis in adults with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria. The agent is a first-in-class factor D inhibitor, and it has breakthrough therapy designation. Initial dosing for the tablet is 150 mg three times a day, which can be increased to 200 mg three times a day. Drugs.com lists the price of 180 50 mg-100 mg tablets as more than $4,359.

April 5: The FDA expanded the patient population of AstraZeneca’s Fasenra (benralizumab) to include the add-on maintenance treatment of people aged 6 to 11 with severe asthma with an eosinophilic phenotype. The agency first approved the interleukin-5 receptor alpha-directed cytolytic monoclonal antibody on Nov. 14, 2017. Dosing for the newest indication for pediatric patients weighing less than 35 kg is 10 mg via subcutaneous injection every four weeks for the first three doses and then once every eight weeks; for those at least 35 kg, dosing is 30 mg every four weeks, followed by once every eight weeks. The list price for one 30 mg/mL solution is $5,511.41.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT

Older Drug Gets New Indication for Use in Aggressive Cancer

A drug that the FDA first approved more than a decade ago was recently approved for the first-line treatment of an aggressive blood cancer. One clinical trial showed that people on the agent experienced complete remission more than twice as often as those on a comparator therapy.

On March 19, the FDA gave accelerated approval to Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc.’s Iclusig (ponatinib) in combination with chemotherapy for the treatment of adults with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ ALL). The newest application had priority review and orphan drug designation, and its review used the Real-Time Oncology Review and the Assessment Aid.

0 Comments
© 2024 MMIT