Eli Lilly, an Indianapolis-based global pharmaceutical company has gained approval for its Verzenio drug used for treating breast cancer patients from UK’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). The approval has set stage for a 3 way competition in the CDK4/6 inhibitor drugs segment. The new drug is another addition to other such drugs including Pfizer’s Ibrance and Novartis’s Kisqali.
NICE has recommended in its draft guidance the use of the drug for treating human epidermal growth factor-2 (HER2) negative, hormone receptor positive and metastatic breast cancer as part of initial hormone therapy. NICE said that the drug is cost-effective compared to other CDK4/6 inhibitor class drugs after Lilly revised its price offering by a revised patient access scheme.
Ibrance was the first drug launched which showed blockbuster performance earning close to $4 billion in 2018 worldwide, Kisqali is far behind with expected sales to reach $1.6 billion in 2022. The Verzenio drugs approval will give competition to the Kisqali for the second position in the market. Although Verzenio is far behind Kisqali and Ibrance as they gained their approval in November 2017, but analysts say that the Verzenio will fare better than others as it requires patient to follow a continuous dosing regimen without going on treatment holidays to avoid toxicity such as neutropenia. The UK listed price of Verzenio is same as its rivals costing around £2,950, but NICE made sure that the company gives discounting offers.
Around 40,000 women across UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, while 8000 out of them will be eligible to receive treatment by the Verzenio drug. The drug is being appraised by NICE along with fulvestrant. Delyth Morgan, Breast Cancer Now’s chief executive said that the NICE approval will help in improving choices available to breast cancer diagnosed women, giving them greater control over their life.
Lilly’s drug Abemaciclib (Verzenio), which in 2015 was designated as breakthrough therapy for breast cancer by the USFDA, can be used as a replacement for robociclib and palbociclib. The drug which acts as a CDK4 and CDK6 inhibitor can come with some side effects. It is essential that the patients are informed about the benefits and possible side effects of the therapy they are receiving. She further added that they look forward to the use of the drug as part of National Health Service and giving Verzenio in combination with fulvestrant could significantly improve patient’s response to treatment who have already received hormone therapy.