By Carlo Martuscelli
A U.K. regulator said Wednesday that it is recommending that the National Health Service in England provides Luxturna, a gene therapy for an inherited eye disease developed by Switzerland's Novartis AG (NOVN.EB).
In its decision, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence noted that it was able to negotiate down the therapy from its list price of 613,410 pounds ($742,084) per patient. It didn't disclose the final price it reached with Novartis.
"The company's willingness to work with us early and constructively has allowed us to publish this guidance on a much faster timeline than normal which is good news for patients," said Meindert Boysen, director of NICE's Centre for Health Technology Evaluation.
The recommendation is for people with vision loss caused by inherited retinal dystrophy from a mutation in the RPE65 gene. The disease involves progressive loss of vision until near-total blindness.
Luxturna is a one-time treatment that is intended to provide patients with a working copy of the faulty gene. According to Novartis, it is able to restore vision in people with the retinal disease.
The Swiss pharmaceutical company estimates that some 86 patients are eligible for treatment in England. NICE said that the recommendation is currently at the draft stage. Barring appeals, it expects to publish its final guidance next month.
Write to Carlo Martuscelli at firstname.lastname@example.org