ICER goes after Novartis for overpricing MS drug; Valneva, GlaxoSmithKline breaks vaccine pact
→ ICER is coming out against the price of Novartis’ Mayzent (siponimod), arguing the multiple sclerosis treatment has a low long-term value for money. While the price watchdog acknowledges there’s some evidence that the drug — a blockbuster-to-be priced at $88,000 a year — can improve outcomes for patients with active secondary progressive MS, it’s dissatisfied with its lack of benefit for the whole population tested in a Phase III (Notably, the FDA approval covers a slightly different group, namely relapsed/refractory MS). Their advice to payers: “Given its similarities to fingolimod, siponimod should be considered amongst a group of highly effective disease modifying therapies (DMTs) for relapsing forms of MS, including fingolimod, alemtuzumab, natalizumab, and ocrelizumab.”
→ Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals $ARWR has snagged an orphan drug designation for ARO-APOC3, which tackles a rare lipid disorder known as familial chylomicronemia syndrome. Utilizing the RNAi approach, Arrowhead wants to silence the gene responsible for apolipoprotein C-III (apoC-III). A Phase I study began in March.
→ French vaccine developer Valneva has closed out a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline, a legacy deal inherited from Intercell and Novartis, respectively. The termination triggered a €9 million payment from Valneva to GSK, with another €7 million due for any marketing approvals of its Lyme vaccine.