When drug val­ue as­sess­ment meets re­al-world ev­i­dence: ICER en­lists Ae­tion in pric­ing eval­u­a­tion

In a union of two of the hottest trends in the US bio­phar­ma world, ICER is team­ing up with a high-pro­file com­pa­ny to in­te­grate re­al-world ev­i­dence in their as­sess­ment of treat­ment val­ue.

The drug pric­ing watch­dog — for­mal­ly the In­sti­tute for Clin­i­cal and Eco­nom­ic Re­view — said it will uti­lize Ae­tion’s ev­i­dence plat­form in “se­lect up­com­ing as­sess­ments” and their new 24-month re-eval­u­a­tions of drugs grant­ed ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval by the FDA.

Even though ICER doesn’t play an of­fi­cial role in set­ting drug prices, its ver­dicts on whether treat­ments are cost-ef­fec­tive are in­creas­ing­ly shap­ing pay­er at­ti­tude and con­sumer per­cep­tion, as well as, gen­er­al dis­course as the heat­ed de­bate around US drug prices rages on.

Car­olyn Mag­ill

Led by Unit­ed­Health vet Car­olyn Mag­ill, Ae­tion de­rives much of its da­ta from in­sur­ance claims, but it al­so works with elec­tron­ic health records, reg­istries and clin­i­cal tri­als. The FDA and Brigham and Women’s Hos­pi­tal have a pact in place with the com­pa­ny to try pre­dict­ing the re­sults of ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­als in a pi­lot project in­volv­ing sev­en stud­ies.

Scott Got­tlieb, who pushed the in­dus­try to try new things with RWE dur­ing his tenure as FDA com­mis­sion­er, joined Ae­tion’s board a few months af­ter leav­ing the agency.

David Whitrap

For its part, ICER has com­mit­ted to ex­pand­ing its RWE use, not on­ly us­ing ex­ist­ing sources such as man­u­fac­tur­ers and pa­tient or­ga­ni­za­tions but ex­plor­ing ways to gen­er­ate da­ta that can com­ple­ment pub­lished sources. The deal with Ae­tion al­lows them to do it at greater scale, David Whitrap, ICER’s VP of com­mu­ni­ca­tions and out­reach, told End­points News.

Where­as RWE can come in handy for com­par­isons to ex­ist­ing treat­ments and the nat­ur­al trend of cer­tain con­di­tions (such as sick­le cell dis­ease, where ICER is con­duct­ing a re­view of ther­a­pies with Ae­tion’s help), their re­la­tion­ship will be most use­ful in the new process they are pi­lot­ing: re-eval­u­at­ing treat­ments af­ter they’ve been on the mar­ket for sev­er­al years.

“Ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal tri­als re­main the gold stan­dard for de­vel­op­ing un­bi­ased ev­i­dence, but as the FDA is in­creas­ing­ly ap­prov­ing treat­ments based on thin­ner clin­i­cal tri­al da­ta, the en­tire health in­dus­try will need to fill larg­er knowl­edge gaps about how well a new drug ac­tu­al­ly works,” he said. “And RWE is one way to do so.”

Health­care Dis­par­i­ties and Sick­le Cell Dis­ease

In the complicated U.S. healthcare system, navigating a serious illness such as cancer or heart disease can be remarkably challenging for patients and caregivers. When that illness is classified as a rare disease, those challenges can become even more acute. And when that rare disease occurs in a population that experiences health disparities, such as people with sickle cell disease (SCD) who are primarily Black and Latino, challenges can become almost insurmountable.

Jacob Van Naarden (Eli Lilly)

Ex­clu­sives: Eli Lil­ly out to crash the megablock­buster PD-(L)1 par­ty with 'dis­rup­tive' pric­ing; re­veals can­cer biotech buy­out

It’s taken 7 years, but Eli Lilly is promising to finally start hammering the small and affluent PD-(L)1 club with a “disruptive” pricing strategy for their checkpoint therapy allied with China’s Innovent.

Lilly in-licensed global rights to sintilimab a year ago, building on the China alliance they have with Innovent. That cost the pharma giant $200 million in cash upfront, which they plan to capitalize on now with a long-awaited plan to bust up the high-price market in lung cancer and other cancers that have created a market worth tens of billions of dollars.

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So what hap­pened with No­var­tis' gene ther­a­py group? Here's your an­swer

Over the last couple of days it’s become clear that the gene therapy division at Novartis has quietly undergone a major reorganization. We learned on Monday that Dave Lennon, who had pursued a high-profile role as president of the unit with 1,500 people, had left the pharma giant to take over as CEO of a startup.

Like a lot of the majors, Novartis is an open highway for head hunters, or anyone looking to staff a startup. So that was news but not completely unexpected.

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Who are the women su­per­charg­ing bio­phar­ma R&D? Nom­i­nate them for this year's spe­cial re­port

The biotech industry has faced repeated calls to diversify its workforce — and in the last year, those calls got a lot louder. Though women account for just under half of all biotech employees around the world, they occupy very few places in C-suites, and even fewer make it to the helm.

Some companies are listening, according to a recent BIO survey which showed that this year’s companies were 2.5 times more likely to have a diversity and inclusion program compared to last year’s sample. But we still have a long way to go. Women represent just 31% of biotech executives, BIO reported. And those numbers are even more stark for women of color.

David Meek, new Mirati CEO (Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fresh off Fer­Gene's melt­down, David Meek takes over at Mi­rati with lead KRAS drug rac­ing to an ap­proval

In the insular world of biotech, a spectacular failure can sometimes stay on any executive’s record for a long time. But for David Meek, the man at the helm of FerGene’s recent implosion, two questionable exits made way for what could be an excellent rebound.

Meek, most recently FerGene’s CEO and a past head at Ipsen, has become CEO at Mirati Therapeutics, taking the reins from founding CEO Charles Baum, who will step over into the role of president and head of R&D, according to a release.

Jay Bradner (Jeff Rumans for Endpoints News)

Div­ing deep­er in­to in­her­it­ed reti­nal dis­or­ders, No­var­tis gob­bles up an­oth­er bite-sized op­to­ge­net­ics biotech

Right about a year ago, a Novartis team led by Jay Bradner and Cynthia Grosskreutz at NIBR swooped in to scoop up a Cambridge, MA-based opthalmology gene therapy company called Vedere. Their focus was on a specific market niche: inherited retinal dystrophies that include a wide range of genetic retinal disorders marked by the loss of photoreceptor cells and progressive vision loss.

But that was just the first deal that whet their appetite.

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When ef­fi­ca­cy is bor­der­line: FDA needs to get more con­sis­tent on close-call drug ap­provals, agency-fund­ed re­search finds

In the exceedingly rare instances in which clinical efficacy is the only barrier to a new drug’s approval, new FDA-funded research from FDA and Stanford found that the agency does not have a consistent standard for defining “substantial evidence” when flexible criteria are used for an approval.

The research comes as the FDA is at a crossroads with its expedited-review pathways. The accelerated approval pathway is under fire as the agency recently signed off on a controversial new Alzheimer’s drug, with little precedent to explain its decision. Meanwhile, top officials like Rick Pazdur have called for a major push to simplify and clarify all of the various expedited pathways, which have grown to be must-haves for sponsors of nearly every newly approved drug.

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Lat­est news: It’s a no on uni­ver­sal boost­ers; Pa­tient death stuns gene ther­a­py field; In­side Tril­li­um’s $2.3B turn­around; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

Next week is shaping up to be a busy one, as our editor-in-chief John Carroll and managing editor Kyle Blankenship lead back-to-back discussions with a great group of experts to discuss the weekend news and trends. John will be spending 30 minutes with Jake Van Naarden, the CEO of Lilly Oncology, and Kyle has a brilliant panel lined up: Harvard’s Cigall Kadoch, Susan Galbraith, the new head of cancer R&D at AstraZeneca, Roy Baynes at Merck, and James Christensen at Mirati. Don’t miss out on the action — sign up here.

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FDA hands ac­cel­er­at­ed nod to Seagen, Gen­mab's so­lo ADC in cer­vi­cal can­cer, but com­bo stud­ies look even more promis­ing

Biopharma’s resident antibody-drug conjugate expert Seagen has scored a clutch of oncology approvals in recent years, finding gold in what are known as “third-gen” ADCs. Now, another of their partnered conjugates is ready for prime time.

The FDA on Monday handed an accelerated approval to Seagen and Genmab’s Tivdak (tisotumab vedotin-tftv, or “TV”) in second-line patients with recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer who previously progressed after chemotherapy rather than PD-(L)1 systemic therapy, the companies said in a release.