TOKYO (Reuters) – A Japanese government panel approved Novartis’ cancer treatment Kymriah at a price of 33.5 million yen ($305,800) on Wednesday, marking the entry of so-called CAR-T therapy in the country.
The Swiss drugmaker aims to use the one-time personalized therapy in Japan for children and young people with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
Novartis expects peak annual sales of 7.2 billion yen ($65.7 million) in Japan with up to 216 possible patients, according to a document submitted to the panel.
Kymriah works by removing disease fighting T-cells from individual patients, modifying them to attack cancer, and then re-infusing them back into the patients.
In the United States, it costs $475,000 for patients with ALL and $373,000 for DLBCL.
Global sales of Kymriah were $76 million in 2018, far smaller than the sales of the top 20 medications for Novartis.
Reporting by Takashi Umekawa; Additional reporting by John Miller in Zurich; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman