Pricing Of Approved Cell Therapy Products – BioInformant

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis made history as the first company to win FDA approval for a CAR-T therapy in the United States. Novartis announced that its genetically modified autologous (self-derived) immunocellular therapy, Kymriah, will cost $475,000 per treatment course. Shortly thereafter, Kite Pharma announced the approval of its CAR-T therapy, Yescarta, in the U.S. with a list price of $373,000. While these prices are expensive, they are far from trendsetting.

In this article:

Pricing of cell therapies is controversialbecause most cell therapy products are priced exponentially higher than traditional drugs. Unfortunately, most drugs can be manufactured and stockpiled in large quantities for off-the-shelf use, while cell therapies involve living cells that require a different approach to commercial-scale manufacturing, transit, stockpiling, and patient use.

To date, the highest priced treatment has not been a cell therapy, but a gene therapy (Glybera). At the time of its launch, Glybera was the first gene therapy approved in the Western world, launching for sale in Germany at a cost close to $1 million per treatment.[1] The record-breaking price tag got revealed in November 2014, when Uniqure and its marketing partner Chiesi, filed a pricing dossier with German authorities to launch Glybera. Unfortunately, Glybera was later withdrawn from the European market due to lack of sales.

Following the approval of Glybera, Kymriah, Yescarta, and more than a dozen other cell therapies, conversations surrounding pricing and reimbursement have become a focal point within the cell therapy industry.

In contrast to pharmaceutical drugs, cell therapies require a different pricing analysis. Below, price tags are shown for approved cell therapy products that have reached the market (prices in US$) and for which there is standardized market pricing.

Pricing of Approved Cell Therapy Products:

Apligrafby Organogenesis & Novartis AG in USA = $1,500-2,500 per use [2]Carticelby Genzyme in USA = $15,000 to $35,000 [3]Cartistemby MEDIPOST in S. Korea = $19,000-21,000 [4],[5]Cupistemby Anterogen in South Korea = $3,000-5,000 per treatment [6]ChondroCelectby Tigenix in EU = ~ $24,000 (20,000) [7]Dermagraftby Advanced Tissue Science in USA = $1,700 per application [8],[9]Epicelby Vericel in theUnited States = $6,000-10,000 per 1% of total body surface area [10]Hearticellgramby FCB-Pharmicell in South Korea = $19,000 [11]HeartSheetby Terumo in Japan = $56,000 (6,360,000) for HeartSheet A Kit; $15,000 (1,680,000) for HeartSheet B Kit (*Each administration uses one A Kit and 5 B Kits)[12]Holoclarby Chiesi Framaceutici in EU = Unknown (very small patient population)Kymriahby Novartis in USA = $425,000 per treatment[13]Osteocelby NuVasive in USA = $600 per cc [14],[15]Prochymalby Osiris Therapeutics and Mesoblast in Canada = ~ $200,000 [16]Provengeby Dendreon and Valeant Pharma in USA = $93,000 [17], [18]SpheroxbyCO.DON AG in EU = $9,500 $12,000 (8,000 10,000) per treatment[19]Strimvelisby GSK in EU = $665,000 (One of worlds most expensive therapies) [20],[21]Temcellby JCR Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. in Japan = $115,000-170,000 [22]*Pricing of TEMCELL is $7,600 (868,680 per bag), with one bag of 72m cells administered twice weekly and 2m cells/kg of body weight required per administration[23]Yescartaby Kite Pharma in USA =$373,000[24]

As shown in the list above, wound care products tend to have the lowest cell therapy pricing, typically costing $1,500 to $2,500 per use. For example, Apligrafis created from cells found in healthy human skin and is used to heal ulcers that do not heal after 3-4 weeks ($1,500-2,500 per use), and Dermagraftis a skin substitute that is placed on your ulcer to cover it and to help it heal ($1,700 per application).

Interestingly, Epicel is a treatment for deep dermal or full thickness burns comprising a total body surface area of greater than or equal to 30%. It has higher pricing of $6,000-10,000 per 1% of total body surface area, because it is not used to treat a single wound site, but rather used to treat a large surface area of the patients body.

Next, cartilage-based cell therapy products tend to have mid-range pricing of $10,000 to $35,000. For example, Carticelis a product that consists of autologous cartilage cells (pricing of $15,000 to $35,000), CARTISTEM is a regenerative treatment for knee cartilage (pricing of $19,000 to $21,000), and ChondroCelectis a suspension for implantation that contains cartilage cells (pricing of $24,000).In July 2017,the EMA in Europe also approved Spheroxas a product for articular cartilage defects of the knee with a pricing of$9,500 $12,000 (8,000 10,000) per treatment.

The next most expensive cell therapy products are the ones that are administered intravenously, which range in price from approximately $90,000 to $200,000. For example, Prochymal is an intravenously administered allogenic MSC therapy derived from the bone marrow of adult donors (pricing of $200,000), Provenge is an intravenously administered cancer immunotherapy for prostate cancer ($93,000), and Temcell is an intravenously administered autologous MSC product for the treatment of acute GVHD after an allogeneic bone marrow transplant (pricing of $115,000-170,000).

Finally, many of the worlds most expensive cell therapies are gene therapies, ranging in price from $500,000 to $1,000,000. For example, Kymriah is the first CAR-T cell therapy to be FDA approved in the United States (pricing of $475,00 per treatment course).Strimvelis isan ex-vivo stem cell gene therapy to treat patients with a very rare disease called ADA-SCID (pricing of $665,000).

Although these generalizations do not hold true for every cell therapy product, they explain the majority of cell therapy pricing and provide a valuable model for estimating cell therapy pricing and reimbursement. This information is summarized in the following table.

TABLE. Pricing Scale for Approved Cell Therapies

Another point of reference is also valuable. The RIKEN Institute launched the worlds first clinical trial involving an iPSC-derived product when it transplanted autologous iPSC-derived RPE cells into a human patient in 2014.While the trial was later suspended due to safety concerns, it resumed in 2016, this time using an allogeneic iPSC-derived cell product.

The research team indicated that by using stockpiled iPS cells, the time needed to prepare for a graft can be reduced from 11 months to as little as one month, and the cost, currently around 100 million ($889,100), can be cut to one-fifth or less.[25]

While many factors contribute to cell therapy pricing, key variables that can be used to predict market pricing include:

Another compounding factor is market size, because wound healing and cartilage replacement therapies have significant patient populations, while several of the more expensive therapies address smaller patient populations.[26]

To learn more about this rapidly expanding industry, view the Global Regenerative Medicine Industry Database Featuring 700+ Companies Worldwide.

What variable do you think influence the cost of cell therapies? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

BioInformant is the first and only market research firm to specialize in the stem cell industry. Our research has been cited by major news outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Nature Biotechnology, Xconomy, and Vogue Magazine. Serving industry leaders that include GE Healthcare, Pfizer, Goldman Sachs, and Becton Dickinson. BioInformant is your global leader in stem cell industry data.

Footnotes[1] $1-Million Price Tag For Glybera Gene Therapy: Trade Secrets. Available at http://blogs.nature.com/tradesecrets/2015/03/03/1-million-price-tag-set-for-glybera-gene-therapy. Web. 21 Aug. 2017.[2] 2017 Apligraf Medicare Product and Related Procedure Payment, Organogenesis. Available at: http://www.apligraf.com/professional/pdf/PaymentRateSheetHospitalOutpatient.pdf. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[3] CARTICEL (Autologous Chondrocyte Implantation, Or ACI). Available at: https://www.painscience.com/articles/cartilage-repair-with-carticel-review.php. Web. 3 Aug. 2017.[4] Cartistem?, What. What Is The Cost Of Cartistem? Available at: http://www.stemcellsfreak.com/2015/01/cartistem-price.html. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[5] Cartistem. Kneeguru.co.uk. Available at: http://www.kneeguru.co.uk/KNEEtalk/index.php?topic=59438.0. Web. 3 Aug. 2017.[6] Stem Art, Stem Cell Therapy Pricing. Available at: http://www.stem-art.com/Library/Miscellaneous/SCT%20products%20%20Sheet%201.pdf. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[7]Are Biosimilar Cell Therapy Products Possible? Presentation by Christopher A Bravery [PDF]. Available at: http://advbiols.com/documents/Bravery-AreBiosimilarCellTherapiesPossible.pdf. Web. 3 Aug. 2017.[8] Artificial Skin, Presentation by Nouaying Kue (BME 281). Available at: http://www.ele.uri.edu/Courses/bme281/F12/NouayingK_1.ppt. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[9] Allenet, et al. Cost-effectiveness modeling of Dermagraft for the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers in the french context. Diabetic Metab. 2000 Apr;26(2):125-32.[10] Epicel Skin Grafts, Sarah Schlatter, Biomedical Engineering, University of Rhode Island. Available at: http://www.ele.uri.edu/Courses/bme281/F08/Sarah_1.pdf. Web. 31 July. 2017.[11] Nature. (2011). South Koreas stem cell approval. [online] Available at: http://www.nature.com/nbt/journal/v29/n10/full/nbt1011-857b.html. Web. 3 Sept. 2017.[12] Novick, Coline Lee. Translated version of the first two pages of Terumos Conditionally Approved HeartSheet NHI Reimbursement Price. [Twitter Post] Available at:goo.gl/YGCh6z. Web. 21 Sep. 2017.[13] Fortune.com. (2017). Is $475,000 Too High a Price for Novartiss Historic Cancer Gene Therapy? [online] Available at: http://fortune.com/2017/08/31/novartis-kymriah-car-t-cms-price/ Web. 8 Sept. 2017.[14] Skovrlj, Branko et al. Cellular Bone Matrices: Viable Stem Cell-Containing Bone Graft Substitutes. The Spine Journal 14.11 (2014): 2763-2772. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4402977/. Web. April 12, 2017.[15] Hiltzik, Michael. Sky-High Price Of New Stem Cell Therapies Is A Growing Concern. Available at: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-20151010-column.html. Web. 1 Sept. 2017.[16] Counting Coup: Is Osiris Losing Faith In Prochymal?, Busa Consulting LLC. Available at: http://busaconsultingllc.com/scsi/organelles/counting_coup_prochymal.php. Web. 3 Aug. 2017.[17] Dendreon Sets Provenge Price At $93,000, Says Only 2,000 People Will Get It In First Year | Xconomy. Available at: http://www.xconomy.com/seattle/2010/04/29/dendreon-sets-provenge-price-at-93000-says-only-2000-people-will-get-it-in-first-year/. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[18] Dendreon: Provenge To Cost $93K For Full Course Of Treatment | Fiercebiotech. Available at: http://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/dendreon-provenge-to-cost-93k-for-full-course-of-treatment. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[19]Warberg Research.CO.DON (CDAX, Health Care). Available at:http://www.codon.de/fileadmin/assets/pdf/03_Investor/Research_Report/2017_07_24_CO.DON_Note_Warburg_Research_englisch.pdf. Web. 21 Sept. 2017.[20] GSK Inks Money-Back Guarantee On $665K Strimvelis, Blazing A Trail For Gene-Therapy Pricing | Fiercepharma. Available at: http://www.fiercepharma.com/pharma/gsk-inks-money-back-guarantee-665k-strimvelis-blazing-a-trail-for-gene-therapy-pricing. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[21] Strimvelis. Wikipedia.org. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strimvelis. Web. 13 Aug. 2017.[22] MesoblastS Japan Licensee Receives Pricing For TEMCELL HS Inj. For Treatment Of Acute Graft Versus Host Disease. Mesoblast Limited, GlobeNewswire News Room. Available at: https://globenewswire.com/news-release/2015/11/27/790909/0/en/Mesoblast-s-Japan-Licensee-Receives-Pricing-for-TEMCELL-HS-Inj-for-Treatment-of-Acute-Graft-Versus-Host-Disease.html. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[23]TEMCELL HS Inj. Receives NHI Reimbursement Price Listing, JCR Pharmaceuticals Co., Ltd. News Release, November 26, 2015. Available at: http://www.jcrpharm.co.jp/wp2/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ir_news_20151126.pdf. Web. 3 Mar. 2017.[24]Kites Yescarta (Axicabtagene Ciloleucel) Becomes First CAR T Therapy Approved by the FDA for the Treatment of Adult Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Large B-Cell Lymphoma After Two or More Lines of Systemic Therapy. Business Wire.Web. 19 Oct. 2017.[25]Riken-Linked Team Set To Test Transplanting Eye Cells Using Ips From Donor | The Japan Times. The Japan Times. N.p., 2017. Web. 23 July. 2017.[26]LinkedIn Comment, by David Caron. Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6316277496551665664/. Web. 21 Sept. 2017.

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