CAR-T treatment, Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), is now available to certain patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) in the UK; the approval will see individuals who are under the age of 25, and not responding to current treatment or have relapsed after stem cell transplant, receive the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy.
As a result of the UK’s cost-effectiveness approval, Kymriah will be funded through the Cancer Drug Fund (CDF), after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reached “a confidential discount” on the list price of the drug.
In the UK, the list price for the treatment is £282,000 ($360,510) for a one-time infusion.
A spokesperson for Novartis told us that the company had “worked collaboratively with NICE and the NHS to reach a mutual agreement that makes tisagenlecleucel available on the NHS”.
The treatment will now be made “routinely available” for eligible patients with “immediate effect”, the spokesperson confirmed.
John Stewart, NHS England’s director of specialised commissioning, welcomed the impact for patients: “NHS cancer patients will now be amongst the first in the world to benefit from this game-changing therapy.”
Success after knock-back
NICE previously rejected Novartis CAR-T treatment for adult patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma on cost-effectiveness grounds.
At the time, Novartis stated that it was “disappointed with this preliminary decision”, though NICE ‘encouraged further discussions’ in its draft guidance.
Its rival in the space, Gilead, had no such issues when it won approval for adult patients for the same indication last month, also funded through the CDF. However, Gilead was not able to offer the treatment immediately, with a spokesperson telling us it would reach patients sometime before the end of the year.