NEW YORK (Precision Oncology News) – The UK's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has issued a final draft guidance recommending blinatumomab (Amgen's Blincyto) for treating acute lymphoblastic leukemia in patients experiencing a first complete remission with minimal residual disease (MRD) activity of at least 0.1 percent.
NICE estimated that the UK treatment population for the drug is small — just 102 people per year. Current options for patients include chemotherapy as a first step, followed by potentially curative stem cell transplantation depending on donor availability, patient health, and preference.
According to NICE, the use of blinatumomab has been demonstrated to improve the reduction of MRD and help increase the length of time before disease relapse compared to continued chemotherapy. People in whom MRD levels can be successfully lowered also go on to have a higher chance of their disease being cured after stem cell transplantation.
The institute's decision to recommend it as a cost-effective use of NHS resources follows the submission of new evidence from Amgen during consultation on earlier draft recommendations.
The firm's cited list price for the drug is £2,017 ($2,562) per 38.5 microgram vial, or an average cost per cycle of £56,476 ($71,739), but Amgen agreed with the agency on a confidential commercial arrangement making it available to the NHS at a discount.