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NICE says cost of Dendreon’s cancer vaccine is too high

Another blow as the bankrupt company goes to auction next month
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Dendreon's woes continued as the UK health watchdog today deemed its cancer vaccine Provenge too expensive for use on NHS England.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) issued final draft guidance that does not recommending Provenge (sipuleucal-T) for prostate cancer due to its high cost. According to NICE the price Dendreon had set for the drug meant it would cost around £50,000 per patient to the NHS.

Sir Andrew Dillon, NICE chief executive, commented: “Sipuleucel-T is a new and innovative way of treating prostate cancer, using the patient's own immune system to attack the cancer cells.

“But Dendreon has so far been unable to show that it works better than other treatments currently available. Based on the evidence presented, NICE is unable to recommend the NHS provide funding for this drug, as it costs too much for the extra benefit it may provide.”

Provenge was one of the first cancer immunotherapies to hit market, but has struggled to make an impact, due in part to its high cost and complicated treatment process.

The treatment involves collecting white blood cells from a patient (leukapheresis), which are then combined with a protein to make sipuleucal-T and then are infused back into the patient.

The poor performance of Provenge has had an impact on Dendreon, with the company cutting hundreds of jobs and shutting down a plant in New Jersey.

Last year the company's CEO John Johnson announced he would be leaving the company, while more recently Dendreon said it will go to auction without an initial bidder after filing for bankruptcy protection in November.

The company puts its assets up for auction on February 3 for the minimum price of $275m.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

13th January 2015

From: Sales, Healthcare

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