Gilead seals UK deal for Yescarta to treat patients by end of year

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Marcin Klapczynski)
(Image: Getty/Marcin Klapczynski)

Related tags Gilead Yescarta Novartis Kymriah CAR-T

NHS England has approved CAR-T therapy Yescarta, placing Gilead one-step ahead of Novartis in the race to treat UK adult patients.

Last month​, Novartis’ chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) received approval to treat patients under the age of 25, becoming the first CAR-T treatment to be made available in the UK. However, applying to have the therapy made available to treat adult patients saw the company fail NICE’s cost-effectiveness assessment​.

With Gilead now having the ability to treat adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, the company has access to a larger patient population. According to NHS England, 200 patients per year could be treated with Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel).

A spokesperson from Gilead told us the company expects the treatment to reach patients before the end of the year, with the manufacturing process for the drug taking place at its Santa Monica, California facility.

The treatment will be made available through the Cancer Drugs Fund, which approves selected treatment that would otherwise be rejected by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)’s cost-effectiveness parameters.

Regarding the negotiation process, Hilary Hutton-Squire, general manager UK and Ireland, Gilead, said: “Working closely with NHS England, the Cancer Drugs Fund and NICE, we have reached an agreement that allows us to bring this new generation of personalised cancer therapy to patients in the UK less than two months after the marketing authorisation of Yescarta. The speed of this decision shows how research-based life-sciences companies and the NHS can partner together for the benefit of patients in the UK.”

The discount made on Yescarta’s list price of £300,000 ($395,000) per patient was not disclosed.

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