First gene therapy for blindness gets 0,000 price tag in U.S.

Updated 2018-01-04 10:30:23 Xinhua
International Blindness Relief Organization Vision Care President Dr. Dong Hae Kim (L) performs an eye cataract surgery during a three-day free eye surgical camp activity at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Aug. 9, 2016.

International Blindness Relief Organization Vision Care President Dr. Dong Hae Kim (L) performs an eye cataract surgery during a three-day free eye surgical camp activity at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Aug. 9, 2016.

Luxturna, the first gene therapy approved in the United States for a rare, inherited form of blindness, will cost 850,000 U.S. dollars per patient, its maker announced on Wednesday.

"The Wholesale Acquisition Cost of one-time LUXTURNA is 425,000 dollars per eye," Monique da Silva, a spokeswoman for Sparks Therapeutics, told Xinhua in an email.

"The price reflects the stakeholder considerations we have learned about these past months, including access concerns of patients, families, health care providers and treatment centers."

While the price came in lower than the one-million-dollar estimate by U.S. analysts, it's still among the most expensive treatments in the world.

Spark Therapeutics said it will offer rebates to health insurers if the treatment does not work.

The company said it has reached agreement in principle with Boston-based insurer Harvard Pilgrim to offer the outcomes-based rebate arrangement and is also in active discussions with other commercial insurers regarding this offering.

Spark Therapeutics also said it's addressing budgetary concerns by working towards multiple solutions to allow installment payments over multiple years.

Luxturna was approved last month by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat children and adult patients with confirmed biallelic RPE65 mutation-associated retinal dystrophy that leads to vision loss and may cause complete blindness in certain patients.

It works by delivering a normal copy of the RPE65 gene directly to retinal cells, leading these cells to produce the normal protein that converts light to an electrical signal in the retina to restore patient's vision loss.

Prior to this approval, the FDA greenlighted two other gene therapies that re-engineer people's own immune cells to treat blood cancers.

Both came with hefty price tags. Yescarta, a drug that treats certain types of large B-cell lymphoma, has a price tag of 373,000 dollars. Kymriah, a leukemia therapy, is similarly expensive at 475,000 dollars.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58July 22 2018 07:18:00

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16July 22 2018 07:18:00

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18July 22 2018 07:18:00

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

Most Watched

News:
China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
Video:
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
Photos:
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Travel:
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Lifestyle:
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords