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NICE relents and gives Pixuvri limited backing

Recommends Cell Therapeutics drug for an aggressive form of cancer
Pixuvri

Cell Therapeutics has scraped a limited recommendation from NICE for its non-Hodgkin's lymphoma drug Pixuvri.

The UK's cost-effectiveness watchdog knocked-back the cancer drug in a second round of guidance in November, citing problems with its clinical evidence, but has now relented.

Cell Therapeutics' first drug on the market, Pixuvri was recommended by NICE to treat patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin's B-cell lymphoma, whose disease has either returned after treatment or become resistant to current therapy.

To be eligible for treatment with the drug patients must have been previously treated with Roche's MabThera (rituximab) and be receiving third or fourth line treatment.

Additionally Cell Therapeutics will have to supply the drug at the discounted rate it has agreed with the Department of Health under its confidential patient access scheme.

Professor Carole Longson, NICE health technology evaluation centre director, said: “Non-Hodgkin's B-cell lymphoma is a cancer that develops in a person's immune system. As its name suggests, it starts in the body's B-cells, which are white blood cells found in bone marrow, and affects the lymphatic system.

“Most people currently receive chemotherapy and the drug rituximab so pixantrone will provide a valuable extra treatment option when the disease has relapsed or become resistant.”

Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is the sixth most common form of cancer in the UK and the B-cell form accounted for around half of the 10,300 cases of the disease diagnosed in 2010.

NICE estimates the cost of a course of treatment with Pixuvri to be £19,926 and, following the watchdog's final recommendation, the NHS will have to fund Pixuvri treatment for eligible patients within the next three months.

The decision provides a little respite for Cell Therapeutics, which has struggled to persuade HTA bodies and regulators of its drug's value.

Germany's IQWiG rejected Pixuvri last year and before that withdrew its new second attempt to gain a US licence, saying it needed more time to prepare for the drug's FDA review.

Article by
Dominic Tyer

27th February 2014

From: Sales, Regulatory

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